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Commissioner’s Corner

Dear Vocational Rehabilitation Community,

It is with much heart-felt appreciation and gratitude that I thank each of you for your commitment and dedication to Vocational Rehabilitation program and to the disability community. It was truly an honor to serve in the Obama Administration and to represent you as your colleague and leader. During my tenure, together, we have been able to successfully partner and work collaboratively. As I step out of this role and everyone awaits the next leadership for RSA, I know that the community will continue to be a strong team with deliberate focus and will strive for a future of inclusivity and progress. Please know that I will always be indebted to you for your support and look forward to hearing great things about the future of the Vocational Rehabilitation program.

Best Regards
Janet LaBreck




Contents

Announcements!
  • The U.S. Department of Education announced today the award of $2.5 million in grants to operate 23 Community Parent Resource Centers in 17 states and a Parent Training and Information Center to serve American Samoa, the Federated States of Micronesia, Guam, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Republic of Palau. The centers provide parents with the training and information they need to work with professionals in meeting the early intervention and special needs of children with disabilities. For a list of Department-funded parent training and information centers, visit www.parentcenterhub.org.
  • The Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Community Living, National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research has a funding opportunity: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program: Using Robotics and Automation to Improve Accessible Transportation Options for Individuals with Disabilities - Synopsis 1. Check it out at http://www.grants.gov/web/grants/view-opportunity.html?oppId=290866

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Kessler Foundation Update! nTIDE Report

East Hanover, NJ - January 6, 2017. The trend extended through the year’s end, making this the longest run of employment gains for Americans with disabilities since the Great Recession, according to today’s National Trends in Disability Employment - Monthly Update (nTIDE), issued by Kessler Foundation and University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability (UNH-IOD). Because of renewed emphasis on transitioning people with disabilities to the workplace, a growing number of innovative programs are providing comprehensive preparatory services for students with disabilities.

Visit the Kessler Foundation for the full report which reflects an increase in employment for individuals with disabilities at: https://kesslerfoundation.org/content/record-gains-employment-people-disabilities

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Business Roundtable Report

In 2015 and 2016 RSA Commissioner Janet LaBreck and colleagues conducted a series of roundtable discussions with business and industry leaders. These roundtable discussions focused on employment in four high-demand business areas in the following sectors: Federal contracting, banking/finance, health care, and information technology (IT). The purpose of these discussions was to engage the business community in dialogue concerning their human capital needs and challenges, skill needs and job requirements, recruitment strategies, and methods to employ more job seekers with disabilities.

The report presents the findings of the roundtables in relation to several of RSA’s current activities and the work of the State VR agencies. Additionally, recommendations are presented in two broad areas: (1) recommendations for improved employer engagement and (2) recommendations for meeting the needs of businesses. Download the report at RSA’s National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM).

Please find the report at the following link: http://ncrtm.ed.gov/Download.aspx?type=doc&id=3332

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RSA Regional Meetings on Program-Specific Requirements under the Rehabilitation Act

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) held three regional meetings to provide technical assistance on the final regulations implementing program-specific changes made to the State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services program and the State Supported Employment Services program, as well as those implementing Limitations on the Use of Subminimum Wage in new section 511 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by WIOA. In the regional meetings, RSA provided technical assistance on the following areas: competitive integrated employment, employment outcome, and limitations on the use of subminimum wage (section 511); transition services, including pre-employment transition services; supported employment; and fiscal requirements.

For more detail see http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/rsa/wioa-meetings-on-final-regs.html

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Competitive Integrated Employment FAQ

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is pleased to publish Frequently Asked Questions: Integrated Location Criteria of the Definition of “Competitive Integrated Employment.” This Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) document addresses the criteria for an integrated employment location within the definition of “competitive integrated employment” in section 7(5)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Rehabilitation Act), as amended by title IV of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), and its implementing VR program regulations in 34 CFR §361.5(c)(9)(ii) (see 81 FR 55629 (August 19, 2016)). The information in these FAQs provides guidance and technical assistance to VR agencies and community rehabilitation programs so that they may assist individuals with disabilities to achieve high-quality employment.

To read the FAQs please follow this link: https://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/rsa/wioa/competitive-integrated-employment-faq.html

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Resources

5 Things You Should Know about WIOA

Friday, July 22, 2016 marked the two-year anniversary of President Obama signing the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into law. Check out the following link for five important things to know about WIOA: https://blog.ed.gov/2016/07/5-things-know-wioa/=



2017 President’s Budget

Please find below various links to the 2017 President’s Budget.



A Workforce Development Success Story!

Read the success story of Janet Terry, who went from an extensive criminal background and a history of substance abuse to an Allegheny County, Penn., administrative assistant earning $10/hour with health benefits. Her amazing story can be found at: http://sites.ed.gov/osers/2016/07/janet-terry-a-workforce-development-success-story/



Council State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR)

CSAVR is composed of the chief administrators of the public rehabilitation agencies serving individuals with physical and mental disabilities in the States, District of Columbia, and the territories. These agencies constitute the State partners in the State-Federal program of rehabilitation services provided under the Rehabilitation Act. The Council’s members supervise the rehabilitation of some 1.2 million persons with disabilities.

Website: http://www.rehabnetwork.org/



Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI)

IRI publications and fields of study identify and discuss field-initiated topics of importance to the public rehabilitation program, develop materials which can be used by State VR agencies and others concerned about staff development in rehabilitation, and publish and disseminate the materials widely to persons who provide rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities.

Website: http://www.iriforum.org/default.aspx

Latest Publications: http://www.iriforum.org/books.aspx

  • 38th IRI: Return on Investment and Economic Impact: Determining and Communicating the Value of Vocational Rehabilitation (2015)
  • Assume Nothing! A Monograph from the 38th Institute on Rehabilitation Issues to Address Underserved Populations, Including Individuals Who Are Deaf-Blind


Job-Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (JDVRTAC) Toolkit

JDVRTAC has developed toolkits for each of the topic areas for which it is responsible. These toolkits can be found on the Explore VR website: www.explorevr.org/toolkits

National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM)

The NCRTM is RSA’s central portal that provides users access to a wide range of materials and the opportunity to disseminate their own rehabilitation training resources. RSA is particularly interested in showcasing resources developed through RSA grant funds as a way for grantees and RSA to demonstrate accountability for the Federal investment in training grants. Contributors can receive recognition for top-rated materials and reach target audiences for dissemination.

The NCRTM can be accessed at https://ncrtm.ed.gov/. Questions or requests for more information about the project can be directed to NCRTM@neweditions.net.



National Coalition of State Rehabilitation Councils, Inc. (NCSRC)

NCSRC is a national membership coalition that advocates for and works in partnership with the national public vocational rehabilitation system’s continual quest for excellence. The NCSRC vision is to enhance the employment opportunities of persons with disabilities through the public vocational rehabilitation system.

Website: http://www.ncsrc.net/



National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB)

The mission of the NCSAB is to promote through advocacy, coordination, and education the delivery of specialized services that enable individuals who are blind and visually impaired to achieve personal and vocational independence.

Website: http://www.ncsab.org/



National Rehabilitation Association (NRA)

NRA’s mission is to provide exemplary leadership through social advocacy and legislation, advance cultural awareness and competence across communities, promote excellence in research and practice, and support professionals engaged in the employment and independence of individuals with disabilities.

Website: https://nationalrehab.org/



RSA: Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Frequently Asked Questions

The Departments of Education and Labor have jointly developed the following questions and answers concerning the funding of one-stop infrastructure costs. Please follow this link to access the FAQs: /about/offices/list/osers/rsa/wioa-faqs.html.



Technical Assistance Centers

The RSA is committed to providing leadership and resources to grantees and stakeholders for the purpose of improving services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence, and integration into the community and the competitive labor market. Accordingly, RSA announces a series of training and technical assistance centers and demonstration projects to assist State VR agencies and their partners in providing VR and other services to individuals with disabilities. Each TA center focuses its efforts on a specific set of topics designed to provide universal, targeted, and intensive TA.

Specific information about each TA center, how to receive TA services, latest projects and communities of practice can be obtained by visiting the individual TA center websites. Details about each grant and the TA continuum of services are on the RSA homepage: /about/offices/list/osers/rsa/ta-centers.html



WorkforceGPS

WorkforceGPS is an e-learning, knowledge sharing webspace that offers workforce professionals, employers, economic development, and education professionals a dynamic network featuring innovative workforce solutions. Online learning events, resource information, and tools help organizations learn how to develop strategies that enable individuals and businesses to be successful in the 21st century economy.

Website: https://www.workforcegps.org/

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Last Modified: 01/19/2017