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a. 1. Input provided by the State Rehabilitation Council, including input and recommendations on the VR services portion of the Unified or Combined State Plan, recommendations from the Council's report, the review and analysis of consumer satisfaction, and other Council reports that may have been developed as part of the Council’s functions;

Current Narrative:

The responsibilities of the Idaho State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) are outlined in the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended.

The SRC and IDVR changed the input period from a calendar year to a program year with this State Plan, to better align with the VR program reporting period.

The SRC’s input during PYs 2019 and 2020 can be summarized within three broad areas: 1) strategic planning and manual input; 2) survey input; and 3) collaborative reporting.

Furthermore, IDVR engaged with the SRC on the 2022-2023 draft modification of the State Plan in January 2022 including a review of the state plan elements and the recommended goals and priorities of the Division at the January 2022 SRC quarterly meeting. SRC feedback was supportive of IDVR strategies addressing recruitment and retention challenges, efforts to further align and leverage the workforce development system, and the development of a VR Counselor position for the deaf and hard of hearing.  Other grammatical feedback was provided and accepted by the Division.

Following SRC review of the 2022-2023 draft plan, the Council participated in a Strategic Planning and Prioritization session held in March 2022.  This session further addressed SRC interests including:

  • CRP improvement activities
  • Comprehensive services to individuals with MSD
  • Expanding partnerships
  • Pre-ETS expansion and improvement
  • Recruitment and retention issues
  • Services to business/Business relations coordination

A period of public comment was held January 18, 2022, through February 11, 2022, including two statewide calls held February 3, 2022. SRC recommendations were incorporated into the final version of this plan where applicable.

  1. Business Engagement 

SRC Input

The SRC members, particularly those members who represent business, industry, and labor, participated in a strategic planning process with the Business Engagement Team (BET) and other VR staff to develop a Business Engagement strategic plan. During our next quarterly meeting, after the planning process, the IDVR Deputy Administrator reviewed a Business Engagement Strategic Planning summary document and asked the SRC to provide feedback and comments. An SRC member commented that the focus on employers and how VR can benefit employers is a positive and effective message in the strategic planning goals. The outcome of the relationship benefiting VR customers

  1. Field Services Policy Manual

SRC Input

The current Field Services Policy Manual (FSPM) is no longer a document referenced in IDAPA rule. Yet, according to the 34 CFR 361.20 public comment is required when IDVR makes substantive changes to policy. Due to changes, which were considered substantive, a period of public comment on the draft FSPM occurred, which included phone sessions, emails to stakeholders, posted notices in IDVR offices, as well as posted on the external website. SRC members extensively reviewed the draft FSPM prior to it being finalized and posted on the IDVR website.In addition to identifying minor grammar and formatting issues, the SRC policy sub-committee members recommended that IDVR add Code of Federal Regulation (CFR) citations to all major policy sections.  It was also recommended that IDVR make changes to the closure policy to increase readability and clarity.  

  1. Customer Access to Services During COVID-19 Survey 

SRC Input

IDVR sent out 3,500 surveys (paper and electronic) to current customers with a 18% response rate. The results indicate that 92% of customers have access to their VR Counselor. Those indicating lack of access to service cited a fear of COVID-19 and technology challenges. Moreover, 85% of the respondents stated they can access services they needed to move forward with their employment plans, with 50% affirmed they can access employment opportunities. SRC members wondered if the respondents self-identified, so there could be outreach back to them if they cited needs. They also posed the idea of using other mechanisms to distribute the survey beyond a letter such as phone calls or text messages, to increase response rates.

  1. Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment 

SRC Input

Previously, IDVR and SRC re-designed the CSNA surveys, and these survey results informed State Plan goals and priorities.  Additionally, the SRC reviewed the CSNA report and prioritized elements based upon those areas which are important to the SRC members.  SRC members are most concerned with improving the quality of services provided by CRPs, staff retention and turnover which impacts quality service delivery, increase outreach, continue to expand and improve Pre-ETS.

  1. State Plan  

SRC Input

In the January 2020 SRC quarterly meeting, IDVR presented emerging goals and priorities resulting from the current draft CSNA to the SRC at large, compared to previous VR State Plan goals and priorities.  The SRC agreed that these were relevant and important goals and priorities and that they remained consistent with the previous state plan and strategic plan goals.  In February 2020, several members of the SRC participated in a strategic planning in session with IDVR management staff to jointly develop the goals and priorities for the Division, which would be included in the VR Portion of the State Plan. 

The SRC Vice Chair reviewed the entire VR Portion of the Combined State Plan and acknowledged agreement with the goals and priorities. 

Furthermore, SRC input into the 2022-2023 draft modification of the State Plan was solicited alongside the public comment period. SRC recommendations have been incorporated into the final version of this plan where applicable.

  1. Annual Report

SRC Input

The SRC Annual Report is a collaborative effort between the SRC and IDVR. The format and content design are an ongoing discussion for several months. This is followed by a group effort of writing and edits with contribution from several members.  The last 2 years Annual Reports included a COVID-19 focus with narratives and data weighing heavily on everyone’s minds.