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2 Year Modification

Indiana PYs 2018-2019 Published

Located in:

c. 1. Federal, State, and Local Agencies and Programs;

Current Narrative:

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) seeks interagency cooperation with a number of agencies and entities that are not partners required through the statewide workforce development system. Within VR, the area of Community and Business Engagement was added about three years ago to address a need to ensure a consistent message a VR and the services it can provide. Education and outreach has occurred with a variety of stakeholder and organizations including schools, businesses, other state agencies, and national partners. The Community and Business Engagement unit also built a VR presence on social media, including Twitter and Facebook to provide further education and outreach through a variety of approaches. Written cooperative agreements with appropriate entities are identified below.

The below provides information related to Federal, State, and local agencies and programs:

Centers for Independent Living (CIL) and Independent Living Programs: The Independent Living Program is located with the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services. BRS (and in particular the VR program) makes a concerted effort to maintain an open working relationship with the CILs that are located in Indiana and the Statewide Independent Living Council. Counselors and other staff make referrals to CILs for wrap-around services. The CIL staff refers individuals to VR and other programs within VR. VR makes it a priority to support the network of CILs in Indiana by providing additional funding with the use of SSA/VR program income to support center operations in the provision of services to assist individuals with disabilities with increased independence and a better quality of life. Bureau of Developmental Disabilities Services (BDDS): BDDS is a bureau under the Division of Disability and Rehabilitative Services (the Designated State Agency) and provides services for individuals with developmental disabilities that enable them to live as independently as possible in their communities and houses the relevant Medicaid waivers. BDDS and VR offices are co-located in the State of Indiana, which enables partnership and continued collaboration. VR works very closely with BDDS (and case managers) in order provide appropriate employment services to individuals with developmental disabilities. VR provides supported employment for up to 24 months, which benefits this population. In addition, VR works closely with BDDS staff and case managers to ensure a seamless transition from supported employment to extended services. At time of job placement, VR Counselors submit transfer documentation to ensure extended services are in place prior to VR case closure as appropriate. BDDS and VR continue to develop and improve existing processes in assisting individuals with disabilities who are considering subminimum wage employment or who are already employed, at a subminimum wage, to maximize opportunities to achieve competitive integrated employment through services provided by VR. Additionally, a representative from BDDS is an appointed member of the VR Commission. VR continues to look for new and innovative ways to partner with BDDS initiatives across the state in order to improve employment outcomes for those with the most significant disabilities.

Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA): DMHA is a division within Family Social Services Agency, which enables VR to partner with DMHA on employment initiatives. VR staff work closely at a local level with the DMHA funded Community Mental Health Centers (CMHC). Through a contract, the Indiana Institute of Disability and Community provides training and consultation to all employment services providers, including mental health centers and VR staff regarding employment for people with disabilities, including a focus on mental health. There are approximately 25 CMHCs across the State that are community rehabilitation providers. DMHA continues to promote employment for persons with mental illness by including employment and career planning as measures in consumer services reviews. VR Leadership meets quarterly with the Mental Health Employment Council to discuss new initiatives and identify how initiatives, such as the recent Employment Service Model Revisions, impact CMHC’s and consumers with mental illness. CMHC employment staff also serve on the Employment Service workgroup. Additionally, a representative from DMHA is an appointed member of the VR Commission.

Social Security Administration (SSA): VR collaborates with SSA on Ticket-To-Work. VR continues to support the Indiana’s Benefits Information Network (BIN) to ensure that beneficiaries receive appropriate benefits planning and education on utilizing work incentives to work toward self-sufficiency.

Veterans Administration (VA): Employment can play a major role in the recovery of wounded and injured service members. To support these brave men and women in their return to civilian life, VR works with various local, state and federal entities concerning statewide veterans’ services. As an example, BRS was represented on the planning committee for the Operation Hire a Hoosier Veterans (OHHV) Job Fair. OHHV is a community collaborative effort between multiple government agencies and community organizations with a goal to support Veterans employment goals. The career fair is now in its 11th year and is lauded as the largest annual Veterans Job Fair in the state. Client Assistance Program (CAP): VR and the Indiana Disability Rights (IDR), Client Assistance Program (CAP) meet regularly on specific consumer cases to address consumer needs. CAP continues to be represented on the VR Commission and participated in the 2017 RSA Monitoring visit. CAP Representatives have also presented to VR Supervisors to educate about the wide array of services offered through IDR.

Department of Corrections (DOC): The DOC is represented on the VR Transition Advisory Council. Business & Community Engagement efforts have resulted in development of relationships with some administrative leaders at correctional facilities around the State. For the last three years, the Business & Community Outreach team has attended the Indianapolis area Conference on Re-entry and has presented in partnership with DWD to educate conference attendees about the VR program and the DWD re-entry program.

VR finalized their Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) Demonstration Grant after the grant’s activities were proven to be self-sustaining with its Resource Facilitation goals. VR supported DOC in applying for the grant and they were successfully awarded. The grant provides screening and services to inmates preparing to be released for TBI-related issues and providing them early Resource Facilitation services in order for them to be better prepared for work opportunities once they are released from prison. VR still maintains an active membership with DOC staff on the Indiana TBI Leadership Board. VR staff provided DOC with technical grant oversight assistance during the grant’s transition from VR to DOC.

Division of Family Resources (DFR): DFR is a division within Indiana’s Family Social Services Administration. VR has specifically worked with Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program and contractor to provide information about VR in order to assist with adult applicants and the employment and training program. Additionally, the DFR continues to expand partnerships at the local DFR offices, by inviting mobile VR Counselors to use their space to serve appropriate consumers. A DFR executive staff member also attended a Roundtable Summit in June, 2018, co-hosted by BRS and DWD to educate about the (then) upcoming implementation of order of selection in the VR program, and potential impact that could have on the number of individuals seeking employment services through other state and local agencies. The summit provided opportunity to educate about order of selection, address questions and concerns, and identify follow-up action items needed such as training, sharing of resources, and development of cross-agency referral processes.

Small Business Administration (SBA): As consumers explore small business ventures, VR utilizes the resources available through local SBA facilities. SBA has specialized staff that frequently work with VR consumers on developing business plans. Consumers also participate in classes through SBA. There is a renewed and strengthened relationship with SCORE, the nation’s largest network of free, expert business mentors. Discussions have begun on increasing and strengthening the resources available for VR counselors when it comes to providing support to consumers who would like to begin a small business or become self-employed. Project SEARCH: Indiana has implemented this national training and employment model for youth and young adults with significant disabilities that is resulting in quality employment outcomes. Key collaborative partners for Project SEARCH include students and their families, VR, local educational agencies, identified businesses and the selected community rehabilitation provider.

Indiana Association of People Supporting Employment First (IN-APSE): BRS and IN-APSE share a common mission in that competitive, integrated employment should be the first and preferred option for all individuals with disabilities. BRS participates in IN-APSE events including the annual IN-APSE conference, and BRS staff regularly participate in planning as well as presenting at the conference. The IN-APSE statement on Employment First is based on several underlying principles including a presumption that all work age adults and youth with disabilities can work in jobs fully integrated with the general workforce, earning minimum wage or higher; and that employees with disabilities, as with all other individuals, require assistance and support to ensure job success and should have access to adequate, long term supports necessary to succeed in the workplace. These underlying principles are very much in line with BRS priorities, especially in light of WIOA and enhanced requirements to ensure that individuals receiving counseling, information and referral regarding alternatives to subminimum wage employment.

Other: VR maintains a collaborative working relationship with several advocacy and consumer support groups and organizations with a presence in Indiana. These include: the National Employment Team (The NET) which includes a national network of the 80 public Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs supports a united or “one company” approach to working with business customers. The NET vision is to create a coordinated approach to serving business customers through a national VR team that specialized in employer development, business consulting and corporate relations; the Indiana Resource Center for Families with Special Needs (INSOURCE); the Indiana Association of Rehabilitation Facilities in Indiana (INARF); the Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers, Employment Committee; and the Arc of Indiana. Input from many of these groups is obtained through various workgroups such as the transition advisory council and the VR employment advisory group.

In order to address underserved and unserved populations, VR has initiated interagency cooperation with the following programs: Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Commission on the Social Status of Black Males, and the Burmese American Association.