- 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
- o. State's Strategies
Describe the required strategies and how the agency will use these strategies to achieve its goals and priorities, support innovation and expansion activities, and overcome any barriers to accessing the VR and the Supported Employment programs (See sections 101(a)(15)(D) and (18)(B) of the Rehabilitation Act and section 427 of the General Education Provisions Act (GEPA)):
- o. State's Strategies
o. 7. Strategies for assisting other components of the statewide workforce development system in assisting individuals with disabilities
IDVR is involved in numerous strategies to increase and improve services to individuals with disabilities being served through the statewide workforce development system. The information below describes some of those initiatives, which are ongoing.
The WIOA Advisory Group has agreed that both IDVR and the Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ICBVI) will serve as lead agencies in addressing the continuing education and technical assistance needs of workforce partners in best serving individuals with disabilities. Both VR programs have evaluated VR offices for physical and program accessibility, as well as participated in the One-Stop Committee’s assessment of programmatic and physical accessibility of the two comprehensive One-Stop Centers in Idaho, and numerous affiliate sites across Idaho.
The Division and ICBVI each conducted a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment which included surveys of core workforce partners. The Title IV programs disseminated germane results to core partners.
IDVR’s Administrator is an official, voting member of Idaho’s Workforce Development Council (WDC), and IDVR’s Administrator currently serves as the One-Stop Chair for the WDC.
Core program partners have received an extension on a three-year Workforce Data Quality Initiative (WDQI) grant, secured by the Idaho Department of Labor, to enhance and automate data sharing across core programs. The shared data will include performance indicator data (e.g., wage information) as well as co-enrollment information across core programs, which will be useful to help facilitate cross-agency collaboration and service delivery. Participants will be encouraged to co-enroll in applicable services at the local One-Stop to ensure participants can benefit from the full range of services available to them.
Maximization of External Resource Utilization: IDVR in concert with other workforce partners will be discussing areas for improvement within the American Job Centers. Appropriate referral and co-enrollment are top priorities in order to reduce duplication of services and maximize the array of services people with disabilities can leverage. IDVR’s continued participation in the WDQI project and current participation in the DataLabs co-enrollment project will help drive appropriate referral and seeks to indicate co-enrollment when potentially beneficial. IDVR is participating in the DataLabs co-enrollment project with representatives across all core WIOA programs.
The Division will continue to participate in cross-training activities with mandatory One-Stop partners which will include sharing program contact information, eligibility criteria, and training on program services and mission.
Appropriate referral and co-enrollment indication are intended to maximize the beneficial impact of all WIOA plan partners efforts for Idahoans with Disabilities regardless of program eligibility criteria. Proper controls developed under these projects seek to ensure non-duplication of services while maximizing justified service provision to best meet the needs of Idaho.
The WIOA Advisory Group is discussing strategies in the following areas: improving public awareness and access to the workforce system, coordinating business services across partners, serving rural and remote communities, and developing a career pathways/sector strategies approach with core program partners. The following briefly describes these strategies. More detailed information can be found in Section II(b)(1) and (2)(A)(B) of the Combined Plan.
Improving Public Awareness and Access to the Workforce System – The public listening sessions conducted by the Council and partners in 2019 show several gaps that allow various opportunities for system improvement. This includes actionable messaging of the services and benefits available to both job seekers and employers. Also, increasing referrals and service coordination among programs will help to improve outcomes for those in need. The VR programs will specifically:
- Work to improve program visibility including improved marketing tools for both employers and people with disabilities.
- Continue to work with one-stop partners to provide guidance on programmatic and physical accessibility to increase quality of services for people with disabilities.
- Coordinate activities with One-Stop partners by sharing program contact information, eligibility criteria, and training on program services and mission for each core program.
- Comprehensive information and training will be provided to outside organizations, especially Community Rehabilitation Partners.
Coordinating business services across partners to ensure delivery of streamlined and high-quality solutions – As previously noted, statewide listening sessions brought to light that employers are seeking services and information in a coordinated and targeted fashion. Based on this feedback, the system must clearly identify the services each program has to offer, develop a coordinated approach to visit/serve employers, and utilize a continuous improvement approach to better serve employers. In addition, an information portal needs to be developed to include information on services available from WIOA and non-WIOA partners. The VR programs will track business services provided/delivered by staff and report this information to IDOL monthly.
Serving Rural and Remote Communities - In our activities analysis, nearly every core and partner program identified service to rural and remote areas as a significant challenge. Idaho is largely a rural state, so the importance of this priority cannot be understated. Some WIOA partners have modified service delivery strategies to better reach rural and remote Idahoans and the system is interested in evaluating the success of the model and expanding it as appropriate. The VR programs will collaborate with One-Stop partners, including libraries, to establish information and referral procedures for serving individuals with disabilities in rural communities, where VR lacks a physical presence. The Idaho Commission for Libraries continues to be a valuable partner toward expanding options for workforce participants in rural communities across the state.
Career Pathways/Sector Partnerships - Our economic analysis revealed that many of Idaho’s in-demand and high-growth occupations are in industries such as manufacturing, trades, retail and service, construction, and health care. The Council, in partnership with the State Board of Education and the state’s Chamber of Commerce, is beginning to evaluate skills and certifications that are valued across industries to transform the delivery of workforce training and education. The VR programs will specifically:
- Contribute to the sector approach established by the IDOL.
- Train staff and expand utilization of the career pathways established by ICTE, including the Career Atlas tool.
- Explore the development of similar tools for pathways common to quality VR outcomes.
- Continue to focus on and train staff to use IDOL or other sources of local area LMI (e.g. Career Index Plus, CIS) to better inform customers’ employment goal selection.