~~OCFS/NYSCB and NYSED/ACCES-VR collaborate on a regular basis to provide guidance to educational agencies, vocational rehabilitation personnel, and community rehabilitation providers responsible for facilitating pre-employment transition services, transition services, and to provide information about consultation and technical assistance resources to assist schools and related community support entities in planning for transition of students who are legally blind and those who have other disabilities. At the state level, both agencies have designated personnel that provide oversight and leadership for the development of policies, procedures, interagency training and other state-level partnership activities for transition services. At the local level, VR counselors work closely with school district staff and local school districts have transition specialists that collaborate. The VR program will continue to work closely with schools to enable the provision of transition services to students with disabilities. (Page 32) Title I
In an effort to maximize the benefit of strong collaboration between the public workforce system and the education community, a stronger emphasis at the state level has been placed on Career Pathways and Sector Partnerships. Career Pathways is a system-wide framework that aligns education and training with specific advancement opportunities for a broad range of job seekers. All core partners under WIOA overseeing workforce development programs continue to re-orient their services toward career progression instead of stopping at job placement. This effort will include sector-focused bridge programs, skills training, job-relevant curricula, and work-based learning opportunities. The Career Pathways framework can build upon existing efforts in the state, such as the Career Pathways program operated by OTDA through 13 community based providers. These programs offer participants a clear course of action for building skills and obtaining industry recognized credentials to progress in their career. Individuals between 18 and 24 years of age are a priority population for these Career Pathway services.
A quality initial assessment results in information, similar to a résumé, being recorded in the customer’s case file and submitted into NYSDOL’s JobZone website, which utilizes the Skills Matching and Referral Technology (SMART) system. Job matching and referral takes place on multiple levels, from automated JobZone Job Scouts emailing job openings directly to the customer, to staff making referrals during seated interviews at the Career Center. (Page 51) Title I
Career Center staff work with all job seekers to plan the services best suited to their individual needs. Those needing CDS or seeking training receive a written Individual Employment Plan (IEP) that helps guide the customer as he/she works toward his/her employment goals. Customers identified as having barriers to employment such as language proficiency, disability, skills gaps, and ex-offender status, are provided services directly at the Career Centers by workforce experts. They may also be referred to supportive services and other agencies to work through perceived barriers and provide coordinated services via a case management system. (Page 51) Title I
• A Comprehensive Assessment, when it is determined that the customer needs individualized career services. Such services may be needed to address barriers to employment; establish an employment/occupational goal that is relevant to the local labor market; and/or identify deficiencies in occupational knowledge, skills, and abilities that can be rectified through skills development and training. This leads to the development of an Individual Employment Plan (IEP). (Page 133) Title I
ACCES—VR considers the coordination of services to youth with disabilities as one of its main priorities. ACCES—VR works closely with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) Office of P—12 Education — Office of Special Education to ensure that students with disabilities are prepared for employment, postsecondary education, and community living when they leave school. ACCES—VR, through its vocational rehabilitation counselors (VRCs) and 15 district offices, also works closely with the local education agencies to provide transition services. ACCES—VR policy seeks school referrals within two years prior to high school exit to coordinate vocational rehabilitation (VR) services with school transition planning. Youth, as defined by ACCES—VR, are individuals with disabilities who are less than 25 years of age at application to the VR program.
In Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2014, ACCES—VR served 39,051 youth, a slight numerical decrease from the previous year, but at the same percentage of the whole. Caseload statistics for youth are monitored to determine the progress of ACCES—VR in serving and placing youth. ACCES—VR Transition and Youth Services (TAYS) Team was launched in April 2014, currently staffed with a Manager and Associate Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor in Central Administration and a dedicated Senior Vocational Rehabilitation (SVRC) assigned in each district office.
The goals of the team are to:
1. Engage youth, parents, high schools, and other transition specialists in exploring and planning career choices that connect to a full range of post—secondary options for training, career development, and employment;
2. Improve the number, quality, and rate of employment outcomes for youth participating in VR services;
3. Collaborate with multiple stakeholders, including other state agencies, Special Education Quality Assurance (SEQA) and Regional Special Education — Technical Assistance Support Center (RSE—TASC) Transition Specialists; and
4. Substantiate the policies and practices that lead to increased outcomes through gathering and tracking data and using it to guide the implementation and continuous improvement efforts at building knowledge and skill of VR staff and our partners.
TAYS began planning early in 2015 to build upon WIOA’s focus to increase the potential of people with disabilities who enter the VR system to meet with employment success, and the requirement to spend 15% of federal VR dollars on the provision of pre—employment transition services (PETS) for students. In 2016, ACCES—VR plans to issue a Youth Employment Initiative Request for Proposal (RFP) to develop specific programs and services, including PETS as appropriate, for VR eligible in—school students, and out—of—school disengaged youth, with a critical emphasis to engage and continue to engage youth until they obtain quality employment outcomes. The project is scheduled to start in the 2017 school year. (Page 180) Title I
There were 56 work readiness participants; 52 completed the work readiness, and there were 43 internship participants. Internal staff training on Counseling and Guidance with the youth population is being developed to enhance the VRC’s skill set and to provide tools to improve the VRC’s ability to work effectively with youth. Topic areas to be covered include counseling youth, transitioning from an Individualized Education Program (IEP) to an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), career maturity, the teen world, teens as involuntary consumers, and maximizing use of assistive technology most specifically for job exploration, transition or postsecondary education programs, work—based learning, and workplace readiness training.
ACCES—VR plans to develop a request for proposal (RFP) in 2017 for a pre—college summer experience to provide the opportunity for high school students to participate in a program on a college campus during the summer between their junior and senior year to learn critical safety and social factors, learn self—advocacy skills, complete a writing assignment in the style and process of a college paper and gain skills and experience to make an informed decision about college. Data from the Office of Special Education is being reviewed to identify potential numbers of applicants for VR services. Outreach to both in—school and out—of—school disengaged youth is being increased through the use of flyers and posters, and presentations at professional conferences.
ACCES—VR will work within its Case Management System to track the specific high school referral source of in—school youth and set improvement targets for high schools in need of attention. Identification of referral sources of out—of—school youth under 25 years of age will help assess the effectiveness of outreach efforts to that age group. (Page 182) Title I
• The Office of Special Education and ACCES—VR will continue to work together to implement consistent policies and procedures for transition planning and services, including, but not limited to, student referral and access to VR services.
• The Office of Special Education and ACCES—VR will work in collaboration with LEAs and other State agencies to ensure a coordinated approach to the provision of transition services and to eliminate the duplication of assessments, services and reporting requirements.
• ACCES—VR and the Office of Special Education will work in collaboration with Independent Living Centers to enhance their role in working with students with disabilities, their families and educational personnel during the transition planning and service delivery process.
• When coordinating services through the IEP and IPE, the student and, as appropriate, the student’s family, are the primary source of information regarding the student’s needs, goals and services. (Page 183) Title I
Increased the use of options that promote participant choice; • Increased activity with regional business consortia and/or business advisory councils; • Established local marketing efforts; • Promoted the development of entrepreneurship; • Facilitated school-to-work transition opportunities; • Established formal methods of assessing participant satisfaction; • Increased coordination between ACCES-VR and mental health providers; • Increased coordination to enhance support services; • Restructured participant assessment methodology to a community-based approach; (Page 186) Title I "Manual Communication" or "Spanish Language" position are required to demonstrate proficiency in the manual sign language or in the Spanish language. Proficiency must be at a level which will permit them to perform the duties of the position satisfactorily. Civil Service Qualifications for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor Assistant: ACCES-VR employs VRCAs to assist VRCs in the administrative, paraprofessional and routine communication tasks that enhance the vocational rehabilitation process. The VRCAs do not determine eligibility, develop the vocational goal, write the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), or determine case closures.
To be eligible for employment, VRCAs must meet the following qualifications: Bachelor degree in vocational rehabilitation, social work, counseling, or psychology; or Bachelor degree and one year of qualifying experience; or 60 semester college credit hours and two years of qualifying experience; or Four years of qualifying experience. For the experience to be considered qualifying, the primary responsibilities of a position must have involved professional or paraprofessional duties in one of the following areas: providing direct services beyond routine personal care or supervision to physically, mentally or learning-disabled adults or adolescents in a rehabilitation program or facility; or providing vocational or educational services to adults or adolescents with disabilities in the areas of assessment, counseling, job coaching, guidance, placement or job development. (Page 194) Title I
• Autism and Related Disabilities: Putting Research into Practice.
• Vocational rehabilitation counseling and professional conferences: including transition; customized training for transition team, engaging and preparing youth for employment; developing the IPE including counseling and guidance plans; motivational interviewing; ethical issues in rehabilitation; case management; managing challenging behaviors in employment; working with participants with: co-existing conditions; mental illness and substance abuse; autism, traumatic brain injury; multiple sclerosis; counseling; providing VR services to diverse and minority group of individuals with disabilities; post-secondary education plans; de-escalation and crisis management techniques; and working with sex offenders.
• Rehabilitation technology, including Microsoft applications (i.e., SharePoint PowerPoint, Access and Excel).
• Pre-employment transition services for students.
• Job placement and employment: including labor market information; labor trends; placement initiatives and self-employment; work incentives; VR partnerships in employment; transferable skills; training techniques in employment setting; integration of recovery; re-entry for ex-offenders with disabilities; returning to work with a traumatic brain injury; placing transgender into the workforce; independent living; improving employment outcomes; and Americans with Disabilities Act. (Page 195) Title I
The data unit accesses the databases that exist (primarily CaMS), develops reports for performance indicators, perform statistical analyses for performance tracking, and try to summarize it in an actionable and user-friendly way. Interviewee’s referenced uses such as developing timelines, IPE development, lapses in client contact, evaluating staff performance, successes and challenges, counselor caseloads, status tracking, training needs, and more. For identifying areas of need, respondents said that data is useful for identifying gaps in services, evaluating particular vendors, types of services, and replicating best practices across school districts. “The district offices or the manager [can] work with the vendor, plan of improvement, provide technical assistance. Would use it to determine whether to renew contract, increase, decrease or not provided at all.” The DOL statistics are very useful for assisting our participants, to have sense of what the market is like not only where they live but where they want to live.” (Page 206) Title I
• Enhance marketing. In 2015, ACCES-VR contracted to have advertising on buses, trains, subway stations, and bus shelters. The primary audience was unserved/underserved individuals with disabilities.
• Direct the work of the TAYS Unit to increase awareness in the postsecondary community of vocational rehabilitation services. Staff will offer on-site orientations at numerous college campuses throughout the state, meet with parent/student groups during the colleges’ summer orientations, and, attend college career events.
• Add service options that will more specifically address the needs of those on the Autism spectrum. • Engage the Independent Living Centers (ILCs) in a coordinated effort to include independent living services, such as peer mentoring and other offerings available at local ILCs that support a person to sustain their VR efforts as part of the VR process and IPE. (Page 220) Title II
NYSCB Transition Counselors also work closely with New York State Education Department Transition Specialists who work at one of ten Regional Special Education Technical Assistance Support Centers (RSE-TASC) throughout the state. The RSE-TASC was established to act as a coordinated statewide network of special education technical assistance centers. RSE-TASCs provides training targeted for parents, school districts and other agency providers on topics such as transition and the IEP, measurable post-secondary goals and work-based learning. The New York Deaf-Blind Collaborative(NYDBC)
The NYDBC is a five-year (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2018) federally funded project which provides technical assistance to improve services for children and youth who are deaf-blind (ages 0-21). The NYDBC is housed at Queens College in Flushing, New York and is funded by the United States Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP). NYSCB has agreed to collaborate on specific initiatives with NYDBC. Specifically, NYSCB assisted NYDBC in disseminating a state-wide needs assessment to increase the early identification of children who are deaf-blind in New York State. NYSCB staff also receive considerable technical assistance and training from NYDBC that will increase knowledge and skills in addressing the developmental and educational needs of children who are deaf-blind. NYSCB will also be involved in collaborative relationships with local, regional and statewide teams (as necessary) to support and improve systems to better serve children and youth. (Page 246-247) Title IV