September 2019 Meeting Minutes

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) September 17-18, 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, Joanie Parker, Joseph Delgado, Gregory Lau, Robert Leiter, Ellice Switzer, Susan Scheer, Ryan Williams, Erica Molina, Diane Woodward, Ceylane Meyers-Ruff, Jennifer Semonite, David Morgan, Laura Hartmann, Liam McNabb, Sebastian Chittilapilly, Helene Fallon, Hillary Nichols, Melinda Dolezal, Lorie Boyd, Paul Czech, Peter Herring, Lindsay Miller, Megan Brown, Allan Gallagher, Peter Herrig

Via Telephone: Jennifer Machucki

Absent: Lynette Torgalski, Angela M. Lockhart, Melissa Campbell, Rachel Jones

Excused: Lynne Thibdeau

Review & Approve June Minutes

  • June 2019 minutes reviewed. Joe Delgado motioned to approve; Susan Scheer seconded.  0 abstentions. The remaining voted in favor of approval.

Additional Agenda Items

  • A reminder was given that a blog was sent out by OSERS on transition and VR support (technical assistance).

Public Comment

  • No public comment noted.

Executive Committee Report:

  • Committee voted Tonya Robinson-Mayer to be the SRC representative to the Advisory Council on Postsecondary Education for Students with Disabilities. 
  • Executive Committee recommended creating a resource manual for new SRC members.
  • Committee proposed new members commit to a four-year term.
  • The Combined State Plan public meeting announcement has been posted on ACCES-VR’s website and was sent via email to 367 service providers, approximately 15,000 participants and the WIOA partners.
    • Six in-person meetings and 2 teleconferences are scheduled.
  • The comment period extends from 8/23/19 to 9/30/19.
  • Committees will review the draft of ACCES-VR’s section of the Combined State Plan, provide comments and recommendations to each committee’s Chairperson by 10/8/19. Committee Chairs will report combined feedback to the PPC Chairs by 5pm on 10/8/19.
  • Helene proposed feedback from individuals determined ineligible be sought. A recommendation to offer public hearings at various times to accommodate the public was made.


Presentation by Diane Woodward, LMSW, ACCES-VR, Manager Policy, Training and WIOA Implementation Unit on ACCES-VR portion of the WIOA 2020 Combined State Plan.

The presentation provided an overview of:

  • WIOA
  • New York State’s common goals and performance indicators
  • Required WIOA partners
  • Reviewed the draft ACCES-VR section of the Combined State Plan
  • A link to the ACCES-VR draft section of the WIOA Combined State Plan was provided.
  • Recommendations from the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) to be sent to ACCES-VR no later than October 31, 2019.  

State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) September 17-18, 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, Ceylane Meyers-Ruff, David Morgan, Gregory Lau, Hillary Nichols, Jennifer Semonite, Joanie Parker, Joseph Delgado, Kevin Smith, Liam McNabb, Lindsay Miller, Ellice Switzer, Megan Brown, Melinda Dolezal, Sebastian Chittilapilly, Susan Scheer, Erica Molina, Helene Fallon, Lorie Boyd, Laura Hartmann, Ryan Williams, Mary Pellman, Paul Czech, Robert Leiter, Diane Woodward

Via Telephone: Jennifer Machucki

Absent: Angela Lockhart, Melissa Campbell, Peter Herrig, Rachel Jones,

Excused: Lynne Thibdeau

Review of the agenda: Tonya Robinson-Mayer

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

Kevin Smith, Deputy Commissioner - ACCES-VR:

  • Several key positions at the New York State Education Department have changed.
    • NYSED Commissioner Elia stepped down as of September 1, 2019.
    • Beth Berlin, Executive Deputy Commissioner was appointed as Interim Commissioner of the New York State Education Department.
  • Efforts are under way to select a new Commissioner.
  • Dr. Kim Wilkins appointed as P-12 Deputy Commissioner.  
  • Two ACCES-VR Regional Coordinator positions are posted. Interviews will follow. 
  • District Offices continue to back-fill Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor positions.

CaMS Replacement/Case Management Data System: 

  • Alliance has been identified as the vendor to develop and implement the new case management system and a Project Manager has been hired. 
  • This is a long-term technology integration project to be phased in. The migrating from   

the current system to the new one will include:

  • Hiring project staff within our department to support implementation.
  • System Integration including extensive testing prior to launch.
  • Hiring of an IT Business Analyst.
  • Hiring short term staff to provide Human Resource support. 
  • Highlights of new system:
    • Increased communication between Central and District Offices. 
    • Real-time data on the progress of case services and fiscal information. 
    • Appropriate participant access to their Employment Plan and case record to better participate in vocational planning and the rehabilitation process. 
    • Provider access to certain fiscal aspects of their account.

Youth Services:

  • ACCES-VR continues to work collaboratively with all school districts to implement Pre- Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students with a disability age 14-21.
  • New Request for Proposal (RFP) to serve potentially eligible students with disabilities has been issued and services are slated to begin January 2020.  

Bureau of Proprietary School Supervision (BPSS):

  • Governor Directed policy recommendation was made to implement stronger regulations on For Profit schools.
    • ACCES oversees 400 licensed career schools offering post-secondary, non-degree training and certificate programs and will continue to maintain regulatory standards.    

Adult Education:

Working toward increasing resources to providers of High School Equivalency education.

Contract Updates:

Ceylane Meyers-Ruff, Assistant Commissioner - ACCES-VR

Peer Integration project:

  • Program to promote continued engagement in Vocational Rehabilitation services.
  • Piloted successfully in the Rochester and White Plains District Offices. Independent Living Center staff housed in District Offices assisted participants in addressing non-employment related barriers. 
  • Request for Proposal issued to include additional offices; Bronx, Binghamton and Hauppauge. This is currently at the Division of Budget. 

CRS 2.0:

  • In some geographic locations there were not enough vendors for certain services. In response a Core Rehabilitation Services Limited Rebid Opportunity was issued. Contracts will be awarded for select services, populations and geographic areas in New York State. 
  • Pre-ETS contracts on target.

Participant Survey:

  • Potsdam Institute of Applied Research (PIAR) contract ended on 8/31/19.
  • A new RFP is underway.


Presentation by Ceylane Meyers-Ruff, ACCES-VR Assistant Commissioner, on Moving from Workforce Investment Act (WIA) to Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

The presentation provided an overview of:

  • Management efforts to meet with all staff to provide guidance and support in making the systems and cultural changes needed under WIOA in the following areas:
    • Making the shift from quantity of rehabilitations to focus on quality performance indicators including employee/employer satisfaction, job retention, second and fourth quarter median wages after exit, credential attainment and measurable skills gain.
    • Projected employment outcomes for youth with the expectation of growth and change over time that will lead to a specific employment outcome.
    • Increased emphasis on providing Pre-ETS services to students and youth.
    • Providing services to students with disabilities who are potentially eligible.
    • Extended services for youth.
  • Management eliciting feedback from all staff on successes and challenges to vocational rehabilitation service delivery and have identified best practices and implementation strategies.

SRC comment and recommendations after presentation:

  • Council Recommendation:
    • ACCES-VR to conduct meetings with other State agencies, provider agencies and training and educational institutions to discuss WIOA implementation strategies and practices to increase Pre-ETS and vocational rehabilitation services to youth and adults. 
    • How can provider agencies enhance partnerships with schools under WIOA?
    • How can a provider agency, along with ACCES-VR, maintain a working relationship with an employer, following a difficult placement experience?
    • How can ACCES-VR address the declining number of educational programs which offer Rehabilitation Counselor Education and individuals entering the vocational rehabilitation field?

Interagency Reports:

Disability Rights New York/Client Assistance Program/Protection & Advocacy for Beneficiaries of Social Security (DRNY/CAP/PABSS):  

  • Update on DRNY staffing.
  • Update on criteria for PABSS – Individual must have a disability, age 64 or younger and a current beneficiary of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits.
  • Program aids with; transportation, city and sidewalk access, education, employment discrimination, barriers to securing or maintaining employment, referral for benefits advisement.

Technology Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities (TRAID):

  • 12 TRAID centers across New York State are connected through the National Assistive Technology Data System.
  • 417 devices purchased with ACCES-VR funding including; tablets, recording devices, smart pens, scanners, standing desks, all devices are for short-term loan.  To date, TRAID has 110 loans of 229 devices. All TRAID equipment purchased with ACCES-VR funds are on loan and are for employment related activities.
  • Facilitated 56 demonstrations to 226 individuals.
  • Provided 10 trainings to 180 individuals.
  • Melinda is visiting TRAID centers across the state clarifying assistive technology services and appropriate equipment for individuals through demonstrations.
  • Upon request TRAID will provide presentations in ACCES-VR offices.

Office of Mental Health (OMH):

  • Providing Home and Community-Based Services for adults age 21 and older in Medicaid Managed Care; including education and employment services to 5000 individuals.
  • State funded employment programs in every county throughout the state, providing assistive competitive employment, ongoing integrated supported employment and transitional employment. 
  • Gathering data across the state to establish best practices and to enhance programs.
  • Employment initiatives through OMH are being discussed at the Federal level.
  • Eliciting feedback from program participants to improve service.

New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC):

  • Currently developing a template for state plan 2021-2023.
  • 350 staff, community partners and participants attended the Statewide Independent Living conference in September 2019.  There were several workshops pertaining to employment, as well as on the peer integration pilot program

New York State Commission for the Blind (NYSCB): 

  • No updates at this time

New York State Office of Special Education:

  • The Department of Health, The Office of Children and Family Services and the NYS Education Department have posted a series of guidance documents on the Office of Special Education web site, regarding immunization and school attendance legislation for the 2019-2020 academic year.

Department of Labor (DOL):

  • Developing Combined State Plan with ACCES-VR and The Commission for the Blind. SRC members encouraged to review all agencies sections of the combined plan. 
  • DOL funding opportunities are updated regularly and posted on the DOL web page.  Agencies are encouraged to access the consolidated funding application.
  • Apprenticeship expansion grant is still open.  Encouraging new apprenticeship opportunities in fields in addition to construction. Funding can include; on-the-job training, instruction, books, tools and program oversite. 
  • Disability Employment Project (2nd year) serving youth with disabilities ages 14-24, focused on career pathways in healthcare, information technology, financial services.
  • A resource tool kit is being developed to aide in the facilitation of integrated resource teams.  This is a proven model at the national level, made up of; employment service providers, workforce development centers, businesses, youth participants, parents and other stakeholders with the primary focus of securing employment.

SRC Business:

  • Deadline to submit comments to PPC on the Combined State Plan is October 8, 2019.

Membership Committee:

  • Committee conducted interviews and are recommending three individuals for SRC membership.  Joe motioned to vote on the three recommended candidates seconded by Helene. 15 affirmative, 0 nays, no abstentions.  Candidates recommended will move to the Board of Regents. New Member Orientation anticipated for December quarterly meeting.

Transition Committee:

  • Transition Committee is comfortable with ACCES-VR’s draft section of the Combined State Plan.
  • Committee discussed their upcoming March presentation.  The topic will be; self- determination.   
  • Discussed having a representative from Youth Power present on youth self-advocacy.
  • Committee has provided curriculum shared from various Federal sources and technical assistance centers to ACCES-VR to assist in developing Pre-ETS services.
  • Greg Lau volunteered to become the newest chair of the transition committee. 

Policy and Planning Committee:

  • Committee submitted a policy review timeline to the SRC Executive Committee.  
  • Committee is currently reviewing the ACCES-VR draft section of the Combined State Plan. 

Workforce Development:

  • Committee discussed Achieving a Better Life Experience (ABLE) accounts and will present on this topic in December 2019.
  • Discussed increasing membership on the Workforce Development Committee.

Quality Assurance Improvement:

  • Committee reviewed work plan and is currently revising committee key functions.
  • Discussed the presentations on the Combined State Plan/ACCES-VR’s draft section and WIA to WIOA. 
  • Discussed keeping presentations relevant and timely with the work of the SRC which may, in turn generate 4.2 recommendations to ACCES-VR.

4.2 Recommendations:  None at this time.

Other Business:  None.

  • Motion to adjourn Paul Chez, seconded by Lindsey Miller.  

State Rehabilitation Council

The Council provides advice and support to The State Education Department’s Office of Adult Career and Continuing Education Services-Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) on behalf of people with disabilities and their families regarding the delivery of effective rehabilitation services that leads to employment for New Yorker's with disabilities.

State Council

Meeting Dates

The following meetings will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn Albany Medical Center, 62 New Scotland Ave., Albany, NY  12208:

March10-11, 2020
June 23-24, 2020
September 29-30, 2020
December 8-9, 2020

For confirmation of meeting dates or any additional information, contact (518) 402-3955.

Agenda for upcoming meeting

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