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Located in:

d. 2. O. viii. III. Overcome Identified Barriers Relating to Equitable Access to and Participation of Individuals with Disabilities in the State Vr Services Program and the State Supported Employment Services Program.

Current Narrative:

Since 2013, VR has made great progress in accommodation and access to services for individuals who are deaf or hard of hearing. Specific accomplishments include completion of revised best practices guides for services and communication, as well as hiring a specialized consultant in the field of deaf- blindness to develop best practices, provide consultation, training, and advocacy with stakeholders involved in these cases. VR also repurposed a vacated FTE into a Deaf-Blind Specialist position, which was filled during FFY 2014.

Key administrators from VR and FDBS held monthly meetings to revise and update the Memorandum of Agreement, develop strategies, discuss training needs, create informational guides needed by both agencies for this population, and provide case consultation. Additional VR strategies and activities to increase equal access to individuals requesting services are as follows:

  • Develop a comprehensive safety plan for monitoring VR facilities statewide. Specific components include a process for reporting defective/unsafe working conditions, safety and facilities management training for area staff, a move manual, a statewide safety manual, statewide first aid information, furniture inspection instructions, and a facility security/building access policy at HQ.
  • Continue to use interpreters and translators and VR’s online resources as well as the websites of other partners and stakeholders (where permitted) to reach underserved populations and increase communication with customers.
  • Offer reasonable accommodations to give equal access to services, and make sure materials and other program information are available in English, Spanish, and Haitian-Creole for various agencies, employers, churches, community leaders, health clinics, and other settings.
  • Continue to assign counselors and consultants to serve specialized populations, such as the deaf and hard-of-hearing, transition students, mental health customers, and brain and spinal cord injury customers.
  • Collaborate with CareerSource Florida and other One-stop system partners to implement universal design principles into the workforce development system’s facilities and operations, with the intent to include universal design as a separate component of the One-stop career center certification process.