FR Doc 03-4549
[Federal Register: February 26, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 38)]
[Page 8969-8971]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

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Part II

Department of Education


Experimental and Innovative Training and Notice Inviting Applications 
for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2003; Notices

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Experimental and Innovative Training

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priority.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education 
and Rehabilitative Services announces a priority under the Experimental 
and Innovative Training program. The Assistant Secretary may use this 
priority for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2003 and in later years.
    We intend for the grantee to develop and disseminate rehabilitation 
training curriculum modules that can be incorporated into 
rehabilitation training programs. The purpose of the curriculum modules 
is to increase student contact with individuals with disabilities and 
to enhance student understanding of disability culture and counselor 
skills that support the empowerment of vocational rehabilitation (VR) 
customers with disabilities.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This priority is effective March 28, 2003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Edward R. Smith, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3318, Switzer Building, 
Washington, DC 20202-2649. Telephone: (202) 205-0136 or via Internet:
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the TDD number at (202) 205-8133.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: The Experimental and Innovative Training 
program provides financial assistance--
    (1) To develop new types of training programs for rehabilitation 
personnel and to demonstrate the effectiveness of those new types of 
training programs for rehabilitation personnel in providing 
rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities; and
    (2) To develop new and improved methods of training rehabilitation 
personnel so that there may be a more effective delivery of 
rehabilitation services by State and other rehabilitation agencies.
    This priority will increase the knowledge and skills of 
rehabilitation personnel in disability culture and customer 
    We published a notice of proposed priority for this program in the 
Federal Register on October 4, 2002 (67 FR 62308). The notice of 
proposed priority included a discussion of the significant issues and 
analysis used in the determination of this priority.
    There are no differences between the notice of proposed priority 
and this notice of final priority.

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to our invitation in the notice of proposed priority, 
six parties submitted comments on the proposed priority. An analysis of 
the comments and of any changes in the priority since publication of 
the notice of proposed priority follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes--and 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that applicants with experience 
in regional cooperative relationships with other agencies be given a 
preference when we award grants.
    Discussion: We agree that experience in regional cooperation with 
other agencies is important, but we do not believe it should be 
required of all projects or be given greater emphasis than other 
models. The peer review process will determine the merits of each 
    Change: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that the priority address people 
with disabilities from minority communities.
    Discussion: Section 21(c) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as 
amended, requires all projects funded under this priority to address 
the needs of ethnic and racial minorities with disabilities.
    Change: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that the priority allow for the 
training of both students and VR counselors.
    Discussion: VR counselors as well as other students may enroll in 
rehabilitation training programs. This priority does not preclude the 
commenter's recommendation.
    Change: None.
    Comments: Two commenters recommended that the priority be amended 
to include the training of non-degree personnel and consumers with 
    Discussion: The training of consumers is inconsistent with the 
statutory and regulatory authority of the Experimental and Innovative 
Training program. While this suggestion has merit for non-degree 
personnel, the focus of this priority is on the training of students 
who will become qualified rehabilitation counselors in the vocational 
rehabilitation system.
    Change: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that the curricula modules 
include an introduction to advocacy skills.
    Discussion: This priority does not preclude the commenter's 
recommendation. The peer review process will determine the merits of 
such a proposal.
    Change: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that the priority require 
experiential activities that focus on the counseling needs of 
particular disability groups and specific areas within rehabilitation 
counseling, such as multicultural competency.
    Discussion: While the comment has merit, we do not believe it 
should be required for all applicants. The peer review process will 
determine the merits of such a proposal.
    Change: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that applicants be restricted to 
entities that have demonstrated long-term successful collaborations 
with disability advocates and self-help groups.
    Discussion: The program authority establishes eligible applicants 
for this program. We have no authority to further restrict applicant 
    Change: None.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we 
designate the priority as absolute, competitive preference, or 
invitational. The effect of each type of priority follows:

    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by either 
(1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to 
which the application meets the competitive priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive priority over an application of comparable merit that does 
not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the

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invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other 
applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).


Curriculum Modules: Experiential Activities To Enhance Rehabilitation 

    For the purposes of this priority, empowerment is defined as 
individuals having the information, education, training, confidence, 
and high expectations needed to make effective employment and life-
related decisions.
    This priority supports projects that provide experiential 
activities that increase the amount of personal contact and experience 
of VR students with individuals with disabilities in non-counseling 
settings. This priority is intended to support the design, piloting, 
evaluation, and dissemination of course modules to be incorporated into 
rehabilitation training program curricula that enhance student 
understanding of the culture of individuals with disabilities and of 
the behaviors that enhance empowerment from the perspective of 
individuals with disabilities.
    Projects funded under this priority must incorporate experiential 
activities in which students interact directly with persons with 
disabilities in situations other than traditional and hierarchical 
student counselor to consumer relationships.
    Projects must include an evaluation of the impact of the course 
module or modules and a dissemination plan to be carried out in the 
last year of the project period.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive 
order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened 
federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State 
and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR parts 385 and 387.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site:
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 

free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: http://

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.263A Experimental 
and Innovative Training)

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 772.

    Dated: February 20, 2003.
Robert H. Pasternack,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 03-4549 Filed 2-25-03; 8:45 am]