- Program-Specific Requirements for Vocational Rehabilitation (Combined or General)
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
- c. Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Development System
Describe interagency cooperation with and utilization of the services and facilities of agencies and programs that are not carrying out activities through the statewide workforce development system with respect to:
- c. Cooperative Agreements with Agencies Not Carrying Out Activities Under the Statewide Workforce Development System
c. 1. Federal, State, and local agencies and programs;
The Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (IDVR) and the following entities have entered into or are developing formal agreements with programs to outline and explain the collaborative relationship between the program and IDVR. The agreements outline some or all of the following: goals, planning processes, information sharing and confidentiality, technology, accountability, service delivery support, cost sharing, annual action plans, duration, amendments, and termination/conflict resolution, when applicable.
The cooperative agreements with agencies mentioned in this section of the state plan were created to allow for more efficient service delivery to those populations under each cooperative agreement. They have allowed for more efficient referral, eligibility determination and collaborative service provision. Customers have benefited from these cooperative agreements because of the well-established relationships and improved understanding of cross program requirements. Customers also receive more effective referral and expedited service provision because of the established agreements.
IDVR’s case management system collects outcome data for individuals served under many of these agreements. The Division has yet to analyze this information for program improvement purposes.
IDVR has the following cooperative agreements:
Idaho Industrial Commission (IIC): This agreement outlines the relationship between IDVR and the IIC with regard to persons injured on the job who may also have other non-work-related injuries. The Industrial Commission will be the lead Agency for injured workers in Idaho and will refer them to IDVR when they are unable to return to previous or similar employment due to the work-related injury.
The cooperative agreement with the Idaho Industrial Commission benefits customers who have experienced an industrial injury, covered by worker’s compensation law. Customers benefit in terms of access and service provision because of the well-developed relationships fostered by this agreement. Customer receipt of services is generally faster and more streamlined because program staff have strong working relationships and an understanding the requirements of each program.
IDVR has had a long-standing agreement with the Idaho Industrial Commission (IIC). The agreement describes the purpose, responsibilities, and referral process for customer who are industrially injured workers covered by the Idaho Workers’ Compensation Law. The Division does not track IIC referrals.
The agreement with Idaho Industrial Commission has been updated as of April 2022 and includes referral procedures for both ICRD and IDVR. Referrals to the Industrial Commission are contingent on application for benefits under Idaho Workers’ Compensation Law. Co-enrollment may be indicated where rehabilitation services available under 34 CFR 361 are needed but not available under Idaho Workers’ Compensation Law.
Co-enrollment and referrals between the entities has traditionally been low, and the current referral processes detailed in the agreement are sufficient to address the volume of referrals occurring between the entities. Traditionally IIC referred cases are low volume multiple diagnosis referrals including severe and persistent mental health conditions, or individuals who may be waiting on a settlement and need some type of immediate income stream. Additionally, individuals who have settled a claim and are subsequently no longer attached to the commission are then more likely to engage with VR, but these customers no longer fall under the agreement.
Coordination between IDVR and IIC is accomplished through Regional Management attendance of IIC staff meetings. Additionally, IDVR’s Administrator has engaged the new director of IIC to help better inform on the services available through the partnership, and navigate the intersection between the programs.
Reciprocal Referral Services between the two VR Programs in the State: The State of Idaho has two VR programs, the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. The two programs have a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to establish guidelines and policies to delineate the services both agencies will provide to individuals with disabilities. Furthermore, this agreement enhances cooperation and collaboration between the two agencies, improves inter-agency communication, and establishes staff cross-training opportunities.
Customers of both VR programs in the state of Idaho receive comprehensive VR services in a timelier manner. The Division has recently started obtaining co-enrollment data across all WIOA programs. This data will help improve our cross-program referrals and other collaborative efforts. As of the most recent ETA 9169, 4.3% of Title IV participants are co-enrolled in other WIOA umbrella programs. This figure does not consider co-enrollment within Title IV.
Independent Living: IDVR is the Designated State Entity (DSE) for the Title VII Part B funds distributed by the Administration for Community Living (ACL). IDVR currently contracts and allocates a percentage of the total grant funds to the following entities:
- Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ICBVI)
- State Independent Living Center (SILC)
- Living Independence Network Corporation (LINC)
- Disability Action Center – Northwest (DAC)
- Living Independently for Everyone (LIFE)
IDVR projects split based upon percentages agreed to by participating entities and uses prior year expenditures for the following projections.
Part B funds are used to enhance and expand core independent living services.
This agreement is to describe the transfer VR funds for IL activities as outlined in Section 705 and 713 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended by the WIOA. This agreement increases the IL centers’ ability to provide services to individuals with disability who require independent living services. IDVR does not track services or outcomes as they relate to this cooperative agreement.
Project Search: Project Search is a high school transition collaborative effort between school districts, VR, Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs) and host businesses. It is an international, evidence-based model which prepares transition students identified as requiring long term supports for the world of work, thus helping them move into community employment after high school graduation. The Project Search program combines two hours of daily classroom training along with four hours of unpaid internship. These internship experiences are provided in three different eight-week rotations and can include: housekeeping, dietary, laundry, childcare, and equipment transportation. Even though the students may not be hired by the host business, they are better prepared for work and better able to access employment after Project Search completion.
This collaborative agreement describes the roles, responsibilities, and process between all parties involved. Students participate in internships and other Pre-ETS activities in several rotating work sites. Students develop work skills which will increase their employment options at the completion of the program. The Division maintains employment information on all successful outcomes. Forty-one students have participated in Project Search since PY2018, of those 22 students successfully obtained employment after their participation in Project Search.
Tribal VR (Nez Perce Tribe, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Shoshone/Bannock Tribe, and Shoshone/Paiute Tribe): IDVR entered into one collaborative cooperative agreement with all four federally funded Tribal VR programs in the state. The updated cooperative agreement addresses WIOA requirements, specifically to include address transition services to students and youth with disabilities.
The intent of the agreement is to develop and implement a cooperative system for providing vocational rehabilitation services to eligible American Indians with disabilities and to promote and enhance to the greatest extent possible vocational rehabilitation services like that of those provided by the State of Idaho. IDVR has the basic responsibility to provide rehabilitation services to all eligible customers in the State of Idaho. The Nez Perce Tribe, Coeur d’Alene Tribe, Shoshone/Paiute and Shoshone/Bannock Tribe, through a Federal Section 121 grant, will work cooperatively with IDVR.
American Indian (or Alaska Native) customers benefit from the enhanced cross program collaboration described in this cooperative agreement. They experience greater access to services in an expedient manner because of the well-developed relationships and increased collaboration fostered by the agreement. IDVR staff are provided cultural awareness and sensitivity training so they are better prepared to engage with shared customers. Customers also receive a comprehensive array of unduplicated service.
Currently outcomes are not being tracked in the Division’s case management system. The Division still needs to evaluate a better method for collecting jointly served participants.
U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment (VR&E) Program and IDVR: This cooperative agreement is entered into by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Program (VR&E), and the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation with the purpose of ensuring seamless, coordinated, and effective vocational rehabilitation services to Idaho’s veterans with disabilities and dependents with disabilities, improving cooperation and collaboration between the two agencies, avoiding duplication of services, improving inter-agency communication, and to establish staff cross-training opportunities.
Veteran customers with disabilities jointly served by VR&E and IDVR receive faster, more streamlined access to services and shared program resources because of the increased collaboration created by this agreement.
Currently outcomes are not being tracked in the Division’s case management system. The Division needs to evaluate a better method for collecting jointly served participants.
Partnership Plus (PPLUS): Partnership Plus (PPLUS): IDVR has established PPLUS agreements with five Employment Networks (EN’s)in and out of the state. The PPLUS agreements facilitate referrals between IDVR and the EN under the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) Ticket to Work program. The Agreement defines the responsibilities of each party in working with Social Security beneficiaries (those receiving SSI Supplemental Security Income or SSDI Social Security Disability Insurance benefits). This partnership is created once the beneficiary selects an EN, and the EN accepts the referral. A referral to the EN is made within the first month of stable employment. This agreement establishes the basis for collaboration and coordination between the beneficiary, IDVR, and the EN as the beneficiary transitions from the VR program after closure. The EN will provide continued support on the job, i.e., benefits counseling,reporting earnings to SSA, job retention services, and other types of ongoing support, at no cost to the beneficiary. The EN can help the beneficiary maintain or advance in employment and increase their earnings.
Idaho Department of Labor as an Employment Network: The Idaho Department of Labor (IDOL) has revised their PPLUS agreement with IDVR. American Dream Employment Network (ADEN), an administrative EN, has taken over the technical assistance and training of PPLUS for IDOL. The PPLUS agreement describes the referral process between IDVR and ADEN/IDOL under the SSA’s Ticket to Work program authorized under the Ticket to Work and Work Incentives Improvement Act of 1999 (P.L. 106-170, Title 1, Subtitle A, 42 U.S.C. 1320b-19 et seq.) and the revised regulations Social Security promulgated under 20 CFR Part 411 that took effect July 21, 2008. The Agreement further describes the responsibilities of each agency in working with Social Security beneficiaries (those receiving SSI/SSDI benefits).
The cooperative agreements with Employment Networks, including the agreement with IDOL, assist those customers who could benefit from additional supports and services needed to maintain their employment. IDVR has experienced low volume referrals to ENs across the state, however IDVR continues to reinforce the value of services provided by ENs for customers who could benefit from additional supports to maintain their employment. IDVR continues to educate staff and works with ENs to market their services to increase the number of referrals. Outcomes are not tracked in the case management system but are tracked by the Central Office Ticket to Work Program Specialist.
Adult Corrections: The Division in collaboration with the Idaho Department of Correction (IDOC), has two Memorandum of Agreements (MOAs) to provide a cooperative effort in the delivery of comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services to customers who are involved with the criminal justice system. The goal of the MOAs is to provide IDVR eligible customers who are reentering the community and under felony supervision in the following service areas: Region I Coeur d’Alene, Regions III and VII Treasure Valley area, Region IV Twin Falls and Region V Pocatello area the opportunity of the full spectrum of IDVR services. IDOC will contribute certifiable non-federal funds towards the case service expenditures.
Incarcerated individuals with disabilities who are ready to transition back into society, receive services in a more efficient and timely manner because IDVR staff are collocated in correction facilities per the cooperative agreement. Staff are able to engage with customers more frequently, prior to release. Counselors who work with incarcerated and ex-offenders better understand the probation and parole requirements which can assist individuals with their IPE services and goals and reduce potential recidivism.
Outcomes are tracked in the case management system by caseload. Of those offenders working with an IDVR corrections counselor, in PY2020, 72 incarcerated or ex-offenders successfully obtained employment.
Transitioning Students with Disabilities: In collaboration with Special Education and IDEA, as well as federal initiatives, the Division has developed cooperative agreements with schools or school districts in various areas throughout the state to provide comprehensive vocational rehabilitation services to students with disabilities to assist with transition to work. A designated VR counselor and staff member are assigned to a consortium affiliated facility to better serve customers in the respective areas.
The school districts contribute certifiable non-federal funds to IDVR to be used for allowable IDVR case service expenditures per the cooperative agreement. The memoranda agreements cover the following areas of the state:
- Region I Coeur d’Alene - Two Projects
- Region II Lewiston - One Project
- Region III Treasure Valley Special Programs - Four Projects
- Region IV Twin Falls - One Project
- Region V Pocatello - Two Projects
- Region VI Idaho Falls - One Project
It is worth contrasting the services in the regions of the state covered by the cooperative agreements versus those not covered. IDVR counselors are either located in high schools or travel to those high schools participating in the project. This increases accessibility to the students eligible and/or potentially eligible for IDVR services. Counselors maintain a dedicated caseload of transitioning students and youth with disabilities until case closure. Dedicated school to work counselors collocated in schools creates closer working relationships with school personnel, provides for more timely referrals, better support throughout the rehabilitation process, and the expertise that comes with specialization. The arrangement has proved important in developing an excellent working relationship between IDVR staff and school districts across the state.
In school districts not covered by the cooperative agreements, students continue to receive the same level of service provision; however, referrals to IDVR are made by school counselors, special education teachers, or by word of mouth. All of the traditional and relevant activities and services are provided by a general caseload counselor. There are no services offered under the cooperative agreements that are not also made available by counselors providing services in the areas not covered by the cooperative agreements. The counselors who only serve students and youth typically are more knowledgeable and specialized in serving this population.
Students with disabilities benefit from the cooperative agreements IDVR has with LEAs across the state because VR staff are collocated in the when practicable, which results in increased accessibility and availability to students, parents, and teachers. This enhanced access has increased Pre-ETS to those potentially eligible students and students who wish to apply for VR services. The cooperative agreements serve as the foundation for improved relationships between VR, students, parents, and teachers.
The Division is beginning to see more students reach their employment goal because of the early engagement with teachers, parents, and students. IDVRs case management system does capture employment outcomes for students who apply for VR services. Not all potentially eligible students apply for services, however those that do are also being tracked.