June 2019 Meeting Minutes

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) June 18-19, 2019 Quarterly Meeting
Day One Minutes
Hilton Garden Inn-Albany Medical Center, 62 New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY 12180

Topic/Key Points

Call to Order (Roll Call-In Person):  Tonya Robinson-Mayer, Alan Gallagher, Bryan Baszczuk, Ceylane Meyers-Ruff, David Morgan, Erica Molina, Gregory Lau, Hillary Nichols, Jennifer Semonite, Joanie Parker, Joseph Delgado, Laura Hartmann, Liam McNabb, Lindsay Miller, Lynne Thibdeau, Megan Brown, Melinda Dolezal, Michelle Barlow, Rachel Jones, Sebastian Chittilapilly, Susan Scheer, Nancy Nowak 

Via Telephone: Angela M. Lockhart, Jennifer Machucki

Absent: Lynette Torgalski, Melissa Campbell, Melissa Schindler, Robert Leiter, Michael Godino

Excused: Paul Czech, Helene Fallon, Peter Herring, Robert Leiter, Ellice Switzer

Guest Speakers: Matt Saleh, JD, PhD, Research Associate, Yang-Tan Institute on Employment & Disability, Cornell University; and Dana Krengel, Director of Integration Services & Re-Entry Task Force Coordinator, BRiDGES (Rockland Independent Living Center)

Review & Approve December Minutes

  • March 2019 minutes reviewed and corrected.   Erica Molina motioned to approve; Susan Scheer seconded.  0 abstentions. The remaining voted in favor of approval.

Review Action Items

  • No action items noted.

Public Comment

  • No public comment noted.

Executive Committee Report

  • Postponed until Day 2.


Presentation by Matt Saleh, JD, PhD Research Associate Yang-Tan Institute on Employment & Disability at Cornell University.

The presentation provided an overview of a New York State Justice Involvement  

grant which began in April 2019. This NYS Developmental Disabilities Planning Council Grant “Youth Re-entering the Community Through Opportunity, Networking, Navigation, Education, Collaboration, and Transition Support” will create a statewide project to work with county sub-grantees for Justice Involved Youth with disabilities ages14-24.

Presentation by Dana Krengel, Director of Integration Services & Re-Entry Task Force Coordinator - BRiDGES Rockland County.

The presentation provided an overview of the BRiDGES program.  This program participates with and implements the daily activities of the Rockland County Re-Entry Task Force.  The primary goal of the Re-Entry program is to reduce recidivism by providing interventions and supports that address housing, employment, and individual psycho-social needs while intentionally promoting community safety in all activities.  BRiDGES offer a range of supportive services for individuals with disabilities who are in the Re-Entry process including:  individual planning, case management, and referral services to support individuals.  

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) June 18-19, 2019 Quarterly Meeting
Day Two Minutes
Hilton Garden Inn-Albany Medical Center, 62 New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY 12180

Topic/ Key Points

Call to Order (Roll Call-In Person):  Tonya Robinson-Mayer, Alan Gallagher, Bryan Baszczuk, Ceylane Meyers-Ruff, David Morgan, Gregory Lau, Hillary Nichols, Jennifer Semonite, Joan Parker, Joseph Delgado, Kevin Smith, Liam McNabb, Lindsay Miller, Lynne Thibdeau, Megan Brown, Melinda Dolezal, Michelle Barlow, Rachel Jones, Sebastian Chittilapilly, Susan Scheer, Nancy Nowak

Via Telephone: Angela M. Lockhart, Jennifer Machucki, Erica Molina

Absent: Ellice Switzer, Lynette Torgalski, Melissa Campbell, Melissa Schindler, Robert Leiter, Michael Godino

Excused: Paul Czech, Helene Fallon, Laura Hartman, Peter Herrig

Review of the agenda: Tonya Robinson-Mayer

ACCES & ACCES-VR Updates, ACCES-VR & SRC Common Priorities:

Kevin Smith, ACCES Deputy Commissioner:

  • State Plan public hearings to occur in Fall 2019, draft expected shortly in preparation for 2020 WIOA State Plan. 
  • Several key positions in P-12 have recently been vacated, efforts are underway to fill these vacancies.
  • Advisory Council on Post-Secondary Outcomes for Students with Disabilities-Higher Education (SUNY, CUNY, For-Profit Colleges) have reported significant increases in the number of students with disabilities.  Programming and resources have not increased to meet these needs.  SED has supported increased funding from Legislature. There was an increase in Readers Aid funding, however more funding is needed.    

ACCES & ACCES-VR Updates, ACCES-VR & SRC Common Priorities:

Ceylane Meyers-Ruff, Assistant Commissioner - ACCES:

  • ACCES-VR needs a representative from the SRC to be on the Advisory Council on Post-Secondary Outcomes for Students with Disabilities.
  • RSA monitoring Corrective Action Plan Update:
    • Eligibility in 60 days: 95.8% compliance, RSA standard exceeded. 
    • IPE in 90 days: 91.8%, RSA standard exceeded.
    • Must establish sustainability in 2 consecutive quarters to meet RSA requirements.
    • Statewide availability of Pre-ETS services.  RFP has been released for Pre-ETS for potentially eligible students and anticipate contracts and services to begin in 2020. Compliance with Pre-ETS requirements is anticipated in 2020.
    • RSA pre-approval requirements regarding certain costs over $5,000. Policy and procedure are being created and will be sent to RSA.
    • Internal controls for tracking 15% of funding dedicated to Pre-ETS: ACCES-VR is reviewing case service codes and making changes to meet RSA compliance standards.
    • WIOA:  MOUs and IFAs are in process. DOL and the core partners are exploring the possibility of  combining the MOUs and IFAs into one amended document.
  • Community Engagement Project:
    • Community Employment Specialists were successful in increasing awareness of ACCES-VR services and generating referrals. Lessons learned from the Community Engagement Project have been incorporated into the Pre-ETS for Potentially Eligible Students Project. All Community Employment Specialist providers can apply for the Pre-ETS RFP.
  • Provider Engagement:
    • ACCES-VR is being more proactive in strengthening relationships and greater communication with vendors.
    • Robert Linton is working with new vendors downstate helping to clarify roles, responsibilities and processes related to various contracts.
  • Participant Satisfaction Survey-Potsdam:
    • Forums to elicit dialogue and feedback on ACCES-VR services and experiences have been conducted in various location throughout the State. 
    • Review of both general and specific instances for feedback, suggestions from SRC and QA Committee was requested.
  • NYC Mayor’s Office:
    • Maureen Anderson (IES-2) is working with counselors to identify  ACCES-VR participants for internships created by  the NYC Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.
  • TRAID Center:
    • Further training is often needed on how to use adaptive equipment borrowed through regional TRAID centers. 
    • The process of requesting and receiving equipment was discussed. It will be reviewed to ensure proper usage in general and on a worksite.
  • Comments from Council:
    • Some transition plans from schools are not updated or reflect most recent goals.
      VR Response: School Districts are not governed by ACCES-VR, VR Transition Counselors work with school districts to establish a seamless and timely transition plan. Special Education has responsibility for developing appropriate IEPs and assisting with transition planning with ACCES-VR. 
    • A request for data on how ACCES-VR transition cases are progressing was made.
      VR Response: Data is being tracked and a new participant satisfaction RFP is being developed. It will include surveying Pre-ETS and participants under 25 years of age. Data is anticipated in 6-9 months on service needs and satisfaction of services. It is anticipated that as ACCES-VR’s ability to serve potentially eligible students increases, the ability to provide Pre-Employment services, job experiences, adaptive equipment and information on reasonable accommodations, employment outcomes will increase for youth.
    • A satisfaction surveys with 30 or more questions is too long, a suggestion of streamlining the questions was made.
      VR Response: Agreed

Executive Committee Full Council Conversation:

  • Discussion on Day1 to better align Council work and Quarterly presentations with ACCES-VR WIOA priorities. SRC’s mission is not to do the work but instead to learn, gather information and make recommendations to improve the work of ACCES-VR.
    • Expected result:  At the end of each Quarterly meeting a 4.2 Recommendation to ACCES-VR will be made.
  • Each committee will focus on the same topic to ensure all perspectives are engaged and offer insight at full committee meetings.  Liaisons will increase communication among themselves to ensure current information about committee work is communicated.
  • Committee work plans will need to align with WIOA Priorities. Committees will continue to work on topics related specifically to their committee in addition to jointly focus items. 
  • A request to record Committee calls was made.
  • A request to house information on SharePoint was made. In addition, Google Docs or another platform will be explored.  It was noted that not everyone has access to these on-line resources.
  • Training resources to help SRC members to become familiar/utilize any format implemented for documents was recommended.

Interagency Reports:

  • New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC): 2nd annual Disability Hall of Fame recognizing all people with disabilities was held. NYSILC is planning to extend its state plan for a 4th year providing time to utilize a new format for the next 3-year State Plan to begin 2021. 
  • Bi-annual State Conference scheduled for September 10 and 11, 2019.
  • New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB):  
    • No updates at this time.
  • Office for People With Developmental Disabilities (OPWDD):  
    • Approximately 8,863 people are currently working in Supported Employment.
    • Approximately 4,500 people are engaged in career exploration or in community pre-vocational services.
    • Work continues with OPWDD transformation.
    • Care Coordination Organizations (CCO) are making progress in assisting with more rapid service delivery. 
    • Supported Employment regulations and administrative memo for Pre-Vocational services to be released later this year.
  • New York State Office of Special Education:
    •  Updating their new partnership structure, information is online.
  • Advisory Council on Post-secondary Education for Students with Disabilities:
    • No updates at this time but a representative from SRC is needed
  • Disability Rights New York/Client Assistance Program/Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (DRNY/CAP/PABSS):  
    • Educating employees earning subminimum wage with site visits/presentations about knowing vocational rights and assisting with applying to ACCES-VR and OPWDD services.
  • Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID):
    • Data system and fidelity of program being reviewed.
    • Site visits to all 12 TRAID sites in NYS are being scheduled.
    • Expecting to report data in September on program activities.
  • Office of Mental Health (OMH):
    • Andy Sink has been appointed as Director of Employment Policy (NYESS, PROMISE, etc.)
    • Internally at OMH, there will be organizational changes that will allow more collaboration with Rehabilitation team overseen by Liam McNabb and Andy’s team related to employment resources.
    • There was a recent Supported Education Symposium in NYC that invited organizations from throughout NYC to hear data, best practices, etc. from other countries (Netherlands, etc.).  OMH hopes to focus a bit more on Supported Education programs moving forward - there are currently 11 or of these programs serving adults statewide.
    • Home and Community Based Services (HCBS), which include Education Support and four employment services, continue to gradually increase and OMH is working to overcome implementation challenges.
  • Department of Labor (DOL):
    • Disability Employment Initiative Round 6 ended in March.  Served approximately 300 people and approximately 180 achieved an employment outcome.
    • The AIDS Institute Curriculum from Round 6 was given to DOL and will be shared with DOL Employment Counselors.  A Train-the-Trainer model will be utilized to increase capacity, expand the target audience and employment outcomes.
    • DOL requested $106,000 in Federal bonds for justice-involved individuals.
    • Consolidated Funding application is now a rolling-funding opportunity. Further information can be accessed at DOL website.
    • Apprenticeship expansion program is new (beyond the traditional “trade” lines of work). 
    • Round 8 is a youth (14-24) grant. Key work will occur with ACCES-VR Transition staff. There will be a focus on Achieving a Better Life Experience - ABLE accounts; which allow those with disabilities to save for qualified disability expenses without the risk of losing benefits from assistance programs like SSI and Medicaid.

Committee Reports:

  • Quality Assurance & Improvement Committee: 
    • Joanie Parker has stepped down as the committee co-chair. Susan Scheer was nominated to be co-chair. 
    • Will focus on possible 4.2 Recommendations that may be made.
  • Workforce Development Committee (WDC): 
    • The WDC is focusing on WIOA Priority1 to assist people with disabilities in developing financial literacy to best utilize monies earned through employment.
    • Recommendations to continue Benefits Advisement Counseling services, financial literacy training offered through credit unions and banks (e.g. SEFCU and First NY Bank), promoting awareness and use of ABLE accounts, etc.
    • Plans to create the December presentation focusing on speakers from the ABLE National Resource Center, NYS Comptroller’s Office, Banks/Credit Union and the CA$H Coalition Disability Initiatives Committee.
  • Policy and Planning Committee (PPC):  
    • Provided feedback on the Student and Youth Transition policy.
  • Transition Committee:  
    • Looking at further work with transition partnership networks (previously parent centers) so that consistent information and training are available throughout the State. 
  • Membership Committee:
    • Applications are being accepted and will be forwarded to committee for interview process.
  • Accessibility Workgroup:  
    • No updates at this time.
  • Impartial Hearing: 
    • No updates at this time.
  • Post-Secondary:  
    • No updates at this time.

Old Business:

  • Tonya Robinson-Mayer indicated that there was no other business to discuss.

Other Business:

  • Tonya Robinson-Mayer indicated that there was no other business to discuss.


  • Joanie Parker made the motion to adjourn.  Joe Delgado seconded the motioned. The vote resulted that all were in favor.  The meeting was adjourned at 1:34 pm.