FR Doc 03-26701
[Federal Register: October 23, 2003 (Volume 68, Number 205)]
[Page 60827-60829]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access []

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Part III

Department of Education


Rehabilitation Continuing Education Programs; Institute on 
Rehabilitation Issues; Notice Inviting Applications for New Awards for 
Fiscal Year 2004; Notices

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RIN 1820-ZA14

Rehabilitation Continuing Education Programs

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

ACTION: Notice of final priorities.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education 
and Rehabilitative Services announces priorities under the 
Rehabilitation Continuing Education Programs. The Assistant Secretary 
may use these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2004 and 
in later years.
    We take this action to focus on training in areas of national need. 
The purpose of these priorities is to select entities to provide 
leadership for the Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI) topic study 
groups and to plan and conduct the National IRI Forum. We intend these 
priorities to meet the needs of our customers by improving the 
responsiveness of the IRI study process to changes in the field of 
vocational rehabilitation (VR).

EFFECTIVE DATE: These priorities are effective November 24, 2003.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christine Marschall, U.S. Department 
of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 3325, Switzer Building, 
Washington, DC 20202-2649. Telephone: (202) 205-2779 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 Institute on Rehabilitation Issues (IRI) 
has operated for over 55 years, bringing together subject experts from 
across the field of disability to form Primary Study Groups (PSG) to 
research, study, and prepare a written summary on a nationally selected 
topic of interest. Each PSG's project is presented for final feedback, 
commentary, and editing suggestions at the National IRI Forum, an 
annual meeting held annually in Washington, DC, to solicit input from 
rehabilitation constituents, professionals and interested others. The 
final documents produced through the IRI are used widely throughout the 
field of public rehabilitation.
    We published a notice of proposed priorities for this program in 
the Federal Register on June 19, 2003 (68 FR 36876). The notice of 
proposed priorities included a discussion of the significant issues and 
analysis used in the determination of these priorities.
    Except for minor editorial and technical revisions, there are no 
differences between the notice of proposed priorities and this notice 
of final priorities.

Public Comment

    In the notice of proposed priorities, we invited comments on the 
proposed priorities. We did not receive any comments.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use one or more of these priorities, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting 
applications we designate each priority as absolute, competitive 
preference, or invitational. The effect of each type of priority 
    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 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over 
other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).


Priority 1--Leadership of IRI Primary Study Group

    This priority funds projects to lead a PSG on a topic selected by 
the IRI Planning Committee. Projects must demonstrate the ability to 
provide leadership to members of the PSG that results in the production 
of a high quality document in the assigned topic area. Projects must 
ensure that documents are relevant to the public rehabilitation system 
and to the work of VR counselors and accurately interpret and integrate 
the current body of knowledge of the selected topic contained in 
published professional research and demonstrations.
    Specifically, projects must demonstrate an in-depth knowledge of 
and understanding of relevant current and emerging issues in the public 
rehabilitation system, the public VR program, and the continuing 
education needs of VR personnel and related professionals. Projects 
must have the demonstrated ability to direct a rehabilitation research 
investigation in cooperation with a variety of experienced 
    Projects must provide leadership to all phases of the IRI process, 
including assisting PSG members to define the areas of focus for the 
designated topic, to identify and address the continuing education 
needs of personnel of the public rehabilitation system, and to plan and 
write the project document. Projects must ensure that the group product 
meets the expectation of the IRI Planning Committee in terms of content 
areas and depth of review. At the conclusion of the National IRI Forum, 
projects must submit the final version of the IRI document to the 
Rehabilitation Services Administration for approval. Projects must 
distribute the approved document to State VR agencies and to others in 
an accessible format on request for use in staff development, training, 
and service planning.
    Projects must include a plan to meet the communication, 
coordination, logistical, and budgetary requirements necessary to 
conduct at least three in-person meetings of the PSG, one of which must 
take place at the National IRI Forum in Washington, DC, at the end of 
the project year.

Priority 2--Leadership of the National IRI Forum

    This priority funds projects to plan and to lead the annual 
National IRI Forum of PSG members and other stakeholders in each year 
of the project period. Projects must demonstrate in-depth knowledge of 
current, relevant issues in the public rehabilitation system and of 
methods to facilitate professional development and continuing education 
activities. Project staff, in cooperation with the IRI Planning 
Committee, must identify and solicit key stakeholders to provide input 
and feedback on selected IRI topics, and facilitate discussion and 
input sessions of diverse individuals with a wide variety of 
backgrounds so that each of the two IRI PSGs receives feedback on its 
draft document in a collaborative and positive manner.
    Projects must provide a detailed plan for all aspects of the 
planning and coordination of the meeting, including, but not limited 
to, facilitation of document feedback sessions, site planning, 
coordination of accommodations and travel for PSG members funded by the 
project, coordination of accommodations

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requested by other participants, and the provision of on-site support 
services, including the provision of reasonable accommodations upon 
request. Projects must include a description of a process and methods 
that will result in high quality input on the IRI documents presented 
for review.

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 389.

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:

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

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.264A-3 
Rehabilitation Continuing Education Programs)

    Dated: October 17, 2003.
Robert H. Pasternack,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 03-26701 Filed 10-22-03; 8:45 am]