Summary of Amendment to the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Supplement for Supported Employment Services Program Federal Fiscal Year 2012
In December 2010, the Board of Regents of the New York State Education Department reorganized the division formerly known as the Office of Vocational and Educational Services for Individuals with Disabilities, (VESID), and changed its name to the Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services (ACCES). This restructuring was done to better align similar employment and workforce development programs within the State Education Department. ACCES now includes vocational rehabilitation and independent living, adult education, GED® preparation and proprietary school supervision. Within the new ACCES, New York State’s designated vocational rehabilitation agency for individuals with disabilities (other than those who are legally blind) is now known as ACCES-VR. In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act, as amended, the mission, goals, priorities and performance in providing vocational rehabilitation and supported employment services to individuals with disabilities in New York State remain the same.
State Plan Process
The Rehabilitation Act, as amended, requires that New York State prepare a State Plan that informs the public of the Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services –Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) goals, priorities and performance in providing vocational rehabilitation and supported employment services to individuals with disabilities in New York State. This document, entitled State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Supplement for Supported Employment Services Program, Effective July 1, 2001, was previously submitted and approved by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The Rehabilitation Act further requires that each state annually amend its approved State Plan in specific areas, as requested by RSA, through the submission of specific updated attachments. The Amendment to the State Plan for 2012 consists of these specific attachments and is based on the most recent guidance provided by RSA. The Federal Fiscal Year 2012 State Plan continues to be an amendment to the original document since the Workforce Investment Act has not yet been reauthorized.
ACCES-VR, in conjunction with the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), jointly developed the Amendment to the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Supported Employment Services Program, Federal Fiscal Year 2012. ACCES-VR consulted with the SRC throughout the year on critical aspects of the State Plan development process, including the joint planning of the state plan public meetings and the identification of a newly developed State’s Goals and Priorities: Attachment 4.11(c)(1) that describes ACCES-VR goals and priorities and identifies key performance indicators to measure its success. Together with the SRC, the State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funding for Innovation and Expansion Activities: Attachment 4.11(d) was redesigned and describes how ACCES-VR plans to use a portion of Title I Funding to innovate and expand vocational rehabilitation services.
The SRC also reviewed drafts of the narrative attachments as they were developed and provided comments and advice on the content. The previous year’s Amendment to the State Plan (FFY 2011) was used to solicit input and recommendations from the public on planned activities related to the vocational rehabilitation of persons with disabilities for the next year.
The public comment period regarding the State Plan amendments extended from October 20, 2010 through December 31, 2010. As part of the State Plan development, ACCES-VR solicited public comment to identify the vocational rehabilitation and employment needs of individuals with disabilities who are unserved and underserved and in developing priorities, goals and strategies to address those needs through five public meetings. Discussion questions focused on obtaining perspectives from participants on how the VR Program can better address the needs of individuals who are considered unserved and underserved, including specific strategies that could be implemented.
To notify and inform the public about the meetings on the State Plan, ACCES-VR emailed flyers that gave specific details on the theme of the State Plan public meetings, the meeting dates, meeting times and locations. The flyers were sent to consumers, community agencies, schools, independent living centers and support groups. ACCES-VR also utilized the newsletters, faxes and the internal communication processes of several community rehabilitation providers and associations to advertise the public meetings.
ACCES-VR further advertised the public meetings through the ACCES-VR website and the public was able to provide written comments through the firstname.lastname@example.org email box. In addition, a few participants in the State Plan Public Meeting handed in written testimony to the facilitators at the meeting.
The public meetings were designed to provide ample opportunities for participants to review and discuss their ideas about ACCES-VR’s State Plan, policies, future direction, and the vocational rehabilitation needs of unserved and underserved individuals. At each of the five meetings, ACCES-VR provided a brief presentation on the State Plan and provided data and information related to the key questions. ACCES-VR staff facilitated the discussion, but public participants remained free to offer comments or recommendations on any part of the State Plan and its process. There was also time reserved at the conclusion of each meeting for participants to make specific statements or provide testimony.
The comments and recommendations received during the public comment period were reviewed for inclusion into ACCES-VR’s Amendment to the State Plan. The public comments are being shared with ACCES-VR leadership and the State Rehabilitation Council for consideration.
Amendment of the State Plan: Required Attachments
The following attachments describe ACCES-VR’s plans, policies and activities in a number of required areas as part of this Amendment. The sections of the Amendment to the State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Supplement for Supported Employment Services Program, Federal Fiscal Year 2012 include:
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)
Summarizes the advice of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) on State Plan policy development. ACCES-VR’s responses to SRC are also included.
Describes ACCES-VR’s activities that ensure an adequate supply of qualified rehabilitation professionals in conformance with its CSPD. The CSPD calls for ACCES-VR to utilize the highest national standard, Certified Rehabilitation Counselor (CRC), as the goal in recruitment and retention of counselors.
ACCES-VR estimates that, during Federal Fiscal Year 2012, 39,000 individuals with significant or most significant disabilities will become eligible for ACCES-VR services. This is a decrease from previous years.
Describes ACCES-VR’s goals and priorities and highlights key performance indicators to measure success. As a result of the FFY 2011 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment, changes to ACCES-VR goals and priorities are being resubmitted for the 2012 Amendment to the State Plan.
Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds (Supported Employment): Attachment 4.11(c)(4)
This attachment indicates that ACCES-VR plans to continue to fund supported employment services utilizing Federal VIB and other funds.
State’s Strategies and Use of Title I Funding for Innovation and Expansion Activities: Attachment 4.11(d)
This attachment describes how ACCES-VR plans to use a portion of Title I Funding to innovate and expand vocational rehabilitation services. As a result of the FFY 2011 Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment and the subsequent changes to ACCES-VR goals and priorities, this attachment, reflecting new and renewed strategies, is being resubmitted for the 2012 Amendment to the State Plan.
Evaluation and Report of Progress in Achieving Identified Goals and Priorities and Use of Title l Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities: Attachment 4.11(e)(2)
Describes ACCES-VR’s progress in achieving the goals and priorities, as required by regulation and agreed to with the State Rehabilitation Council.