~~Title IV entities may expend funds to provide training and technical assistance to employers regarding the employment of individuals with disabilities. Vocational rehabilitation has designated a business specialist position that acts as the single point of contact for businesses that would like technical assistance. There are two non-profit entities in South Dakota that offer supports to the business community which are led by employers. In addition, “Ability For Hire” is an employer outreach campaign emphasizing the promotion of hiring, advancement, and retention of employment for people with disabilities in South Dakota’s workforce. The content materials consist of a website, printed resources, radio advertising, television commercials, and videos that highlight businesses that already know the value of hiring people with disabilities. The campaign officially launched on 08/11/2015 with the release of the website and Facebook page.
In line with strategy 2.2 (designing education and training programs to address workforce needs) and in order to respond to high demand economic sectors in South Dakota, the vocational rehabilitation agencies in South Dakota will work with businesses and providers to develop a training and placement program for people with disabilities. This program will be designed to address sector workforce shortages in high demand occupations that are identified in this state plan. (Page 61) Title I
The Division has been working on activities prompted by Governor Daugaard’s initiative to have the State of South Dakota become a model employer of people with disabilities. The Board fully supports these activities. An example is the Division contracted with a Sioux Falls marketing firm to conduct an employer outreach program. The Board’s Public Awareness Committee participated in presentations at various stages of the development process. Input and recommendations from members concentrated on accessibility features, video captioning and website ease of access. (Pages 182-183) Title I
The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS or Division) has been very proactive in working collaboratively with employers. These initiatives consist of:
• “Ability For Hire” campaign: “Ability For Hire” is an employer outreach campaign emphasizing the promotion of hiring, advancement, and retention of employment for people with disabilities in South Dakota’s workforce. The content materials consist of a website (www.abilityforhire.com), printed materials in the form of brochures, radio advertisement, commercials, and videos of the Governor and other success stories. It officially launched on 08/11/2015, with the release of the website and Facebook page. This is also designed to promote the public’s awareness of the available resources and services that DRS offer to employers and people with disabilities.
• Point of Contact: The Division has designated a single point of contact (Business Specialist) to disseminate materials, conduct trainings, and serve as a resource to employers, providers, and people with disabilities throughout the state. (Pages 198-199)Title I
• Business—Led Models: There are two non—profit entities available in South Dakota offering supports to the business communities which are led by employers (business—led model). They are the Business Resource Network in Sioux Falls and the Workforce Diversity Network of the Black Hills. Each has an Executive Director. Both of them have an approved contract in place with the Division to provide education, consulting, and technical assistance to businesses on the hiring, accommodations, supports and retention when employing people with disabilities.
• Business Organization Involvement: The Division is working towards increasing memberships and regular involvement of staff within non—disability related organizations in efforts to connect with employers. Some examples of the organizations consist of the local Chamber of Commerce, Society of Human Resource Managers (SHRM), and the South Dakota Retailers Association. These opportunities allow for connecting with businesses to learn more about their workforce needs and identify any disability training needs they may have.
• Employer Resource Guide: The Division has created an Employer Resource Guide consisting of information and resources available to employers regarding various aspects of disability—related topics. This Resource Guide will be utilized during meetings with employers. (Page 199) Title I
The Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS or Division) has been very proactive in working collaboratively with employers for transition services. These initiatives consist of:• Project Skills: Project Skills is a paid work experience program for high school students with disabilities in South Dakota. The program is a cooperative arrangement between the state vocational rehabilitation agencies and local school districts which provides students the opportunity to learn different skills in a variety of job placements, with the assistance of a job coach. Project Skills helps to build the student’s work history, references and assists them with experiencing different career fields as they mature and take on new challenges. The Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor and school staff identify employment sites, businesses, employers to match the areas which students have expressed an interest in working.
• Project Search: Project Search is a national model partnering with a large employer, local school district and the State Vocational Rehabilitation Program. South Dakota currently has 3 Project Search Initiatives in operation at Aberdeen, Brookings and Sioux Falls. A 4th Project Search initiative is being developed in Rapid City to begin with the 2016 fall school year. (Pages 199-200) Title IV
DRS meets monthly with WIOA Core Partners to improve collaboration between the partners. DRS also meetings quarterly with other community partners to learn about and discuss topics such as low income housing, transportation, food stamps, training programs, financial services and resources, etc. to better serve our mutual clients. DRS has worked with The Brain Injury Work Group to complete a handbook on services in the community for those with TBI. DRS office facilitates regular provider meetings to discuss issues, clarify policy, introduce providers to employers, etc. DRS has presented to other community service providers, such as the Orthopedic Institute with Physical Therapy staff (15 people), to explain the referral process for individuals with disabilities seeking employment after illness or injury. (Page 246) Title IV
DRS has developed through small seed grants three business led initiatives. These initiatives are in Yankton, Brookings and Aberdeen. They promote information to businesses/employers on hiring people with disabilities through various business connections and social media. (Page 247) Title IV
Services Provided: Many students with significant disabilities don’t have an opportunity to participate in gainful employment while in high school. Although willing, most employers cannot afford to provide the training and supports students frequently require on their first job. Project Skills assists students to build their work history while helping them to move into different and better jobs as they mature and are ready to take on new challenges. This program is a cooperative arrangement between the State VR Agencies and the local school systems. SBVI pays the wages, workers compensation, and FICA; the schools provide the job development, job coaching, and follow—along services for students at the job site. (Page 275) Title IV
See What I Can Do Outreach Campaign — SBVI developed an outreach campaign with employers specifically targeted as part of the audience to be reached by the campaign. Focus groups and surveys of employers provided insight about their awareness of the capabilities of citizens with vison loss and the availability of SBVI services. A television ad, radio ads, brochure and banner stands were developed to promote hiring citizens with vision loss as well as relying on SBVI for job retention for current employees. Materials include students and youth with disabilities to promote employer engagement.
Business Representatives on the Board of SBVI: There are two business led non—profit entities in South Dakota that offer supports to the business community. The Business Resource Network in Sioux Falls and the Workforce Diversity Network of the Black Hills provide education, consulting, and technical assistance to businesses on the hiring, accommodations, supports and retention when employing people with disabilities. The Executive Director of the Workforce Diversity Network is a former SBVI consumer and a member of the Board of SBVI. SBVI contributes to the Business Resource Network(BRN) by providing office space and clerical support. The manager of the SD Rehabilitation Center for the Blind (in the Division of SBVI) is on the governing board for the BRN. The Workforce Development Council representative on the Board of SBVI is the gubernatorial appointed Department Secretary for the Labor and Regulation. This representation brings the employer/business perspective to strategic planning and Board activities. (Page 292) Title IV
Initiatives with employers to identify competitive integrated employment and career exploration opportunities to facilitate the provision of vocational rehabilitation services and transition services (including pre—employment transition services) for students and youth with disabilities South Dakota Service to the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBVI) has implemented and participated in a number of initiatives to work with employers to benefit citizens with vison loss who are served through SBVI. (Page 293) Title IV
3. THE OUTREACH PROCEDURES THAT WILL BE USED TO IDENTIFY AND SERVE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES WHO ARE MINORITIES, INCLUDING THOSE WITH THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DISABILITIES, AS WELL AS THOSE WHO HAVE BEEN UNSERVED OR UNDERSERVED BY THE VR PROGRAM.
Plan and participate in activities that target businesses to educate them on the capabilities of people who are blind or visually impaired. Annually conduct two or more activities that promote services available for citizens with vision loss including those from minority backgrounds. Annually review and update outreach materials and procedures that staff utilize to promote services to referral sources, employers and other entities. Ensure that outreach methods address the needs of those with the most significant disabilities. Maintain regular contact with minority service agencies to increase awareness of services that are available. Collaborate with Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation and other programs to ensure that all services are provided in an effective and efficient manner while addressing cultural diversity. Provide SBVI staff with resources and training so they are able to meet the cultural and linguistic needs of diverse populations. Strengthen extended services to assure successful employment for clients with the most significant disabilities. (Pages 325-326) Title IV
Goal 2: Develop outreach methods so that referral sources, employers, and citizens who are blind or visually impaired are aware of the unique services provided by SBVI.
Strategy 2.1: Design and disseminate outreach materials and participate in activities that target employers to educate them on the capabilities of people who are blind or visually impaired: Staff prioritized outreach efforts to educate businesses, schools, providers and the general public on services available from SBVI. Staff report on their efforts on a monthly basis and this is a performance expectation on their annual appraisal reviews. A system for tracking has been implemented so metrics can be analyzed in the future.
Strategy 2.2: Annually conduct two or more activities that promote services for citizens with vision loss including those from minority backgrounds: SBVI participated in State and Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program biannual meetings for information sharing and to identify and address specific needs and concerns SBVI participated in the National Disability Awareness Month events hosted by the Oun’iyekiyapi Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Cheyenne River Sioux Tribe in Eagle Butte in 2016 and 2017. SBVI participated in a Disability Summit at the Indian Learning Center in Pierre in July 2016 sponsored by Oun’iyekiyapi Vocational Rehabilitation Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program. (Page 331) Title IV