- Program-Specific Requirements for Vocational Rehabilitation (Blind)
The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services Portion of the Unified or Combined State Plan  must include the following descriptions and estimates, as required by section 101(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by title IV of WIOA:
 Sec. 102(b)(2)(D)(iii) of WIOA
d. 1. The designated State unit's plans, policies, and procedures for coordination with education officials to facilitate the transition of students with disabilities from school to the receipt of VR services, including pre-employment transition services, as well as procedures for the timely development and approval of individualized plans for employment for the students
Coordination with Education Officials
Executive Order 19-31 outlines actions designed to make Florida number one in the Nation in workforce education by 2030, which includes ensuring students are prepared for the jobs of the future. The Division’s mission is aligned with the Governor’s goal for Florida’s students and workforce. The activities that follow are aimed at meeting the Governor’s goal and the Division’s mission.
The FDBS works has been working jointly with the Division of Career and Adult Education (DCAE) to increase apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship participation for individuals who are blind or visually impaired under the Perkins grant. Under WIOA, FDBS staff began to strengthen the focus on career pathways for clients. This includes assisting clients with earning credentials and certifications in fields consistent with labor market demands. Once the Perkins V plan is approved, the FDBS will work with the DCAE to ensure both plans are aligned in areas where collaboration and partnership will lead to sustainable outcomes for those who are blind and visually impaired.
The Last Mile College Completion Program is designed for students who left college within 12 or fewer credit hours of obtaining a degree. This program creates greater collaboration between the Division and the Florida College System. Early review of the data indicates there are FDBS consumers who may benefit from this program. The Division plans to track the number of consumers eligible and of that number, how many are interested in going back to college. Once identified, the FDBS staff will reach out to those consumers and assist them with their college goals.
The FDBS pays post-secondary tuition rates for qualifying consumers. The FDBS counselors work with staff from each college when determining how much of the total cost for tuition the FDBS will sponsor. This ensures there is no duplication of funding. The FDBS assists students in navigating the college system, including receiving support through the Office of Student Disability Services.
High school students who participate in work-based learning experiences and career/technical education can earn credits toward graduation requirements. The Division will continue to collaborate with Career and Technical Education and students with visual impairments to encourage dual enrollment and increase student involvement in this program.
The FDBS has a formal interagency agreement with other divisions within the Florida Department of Education that provide transition services to high school students progressing to postsecondary education/training, support services, and/or competitive integrated employment. These agencies agree to meet regularly to share information, ideas and current initiatives; collaborate on training and special projects; cooperate in planning and budgeting; support areas of work that are mutually beneficial. The parties included in the formal agreement are the Divisions of Blind Services, Public Schools (DPS), and Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR). This agreement functions as a transition services model for improved collaboration, communication, coordination, and cooperation among the parties included.
To implement the Florida statutes and federal laws/regulations, the FDBS and the Division of K-12 Education agree to coordinate activities in serving students who are blind and visually impaired through the following:
- The development of the Florida State Plan under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act;
- The preparation and implementation of guidelines, policies, rules, and regulations which affect the interests of students with visual impairments through joint planning committees and publications, as appropriate;
- The development of new programs or the initiation of new services for students with visual impairments;
- Interchange of information on the monitoring and evaluation of special programs for students with visual impairments;
- Promotion and provision of training for teachers and FDBS staff who work with students who are blind and visually impaired; and
- The dissemination of information and other activities to increase public awareness of visual disabilities and services available to students with visual impairments.