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j. 1. A. With the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;

Current Narrative:

ICBVI completed a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) in FFY 2020 in accordance with the requirements of Section 101.15 of the Rehabilitation Act as amended. Three separate surveys were developed to thoroughly assess the needs of Idahoans who are blind or visually impaired. The survey participants included a sample of VR clients (n = ICBVI clients served within the time frame October 1, 2018 through September 30, 2019), all ICBVI staff, and a sample of employers and other key informants.

According to 2017 ACS estimates, 2.9% of the population reported a visual disability in Idaho, which is a higher than the percentage reported in the U.S (2.3%). It should be noted that the population reporting a visual disability in Idaho increased from 2.3% in 2015 to 2.9% in 2017. The percentage of individuals living in Idaho with a visual disability ages 18-34 (1.31%) is slightly higher than the US population (1.13%)

According to the results of the 2020 CSNA, the most common themes that emerged in the area of rehabilitation needs of blind and visually impaired individuals in the state were:

  • 32% of all respondents (clients and key informants) identified lack of transportation as the major barrier to employment for individuals who are blind or low vision in Idaho.
  • 55% of all key informants interviewed(agencies that provide services to individuals who are blind and visually impaired) reported that societal attitudes, family attitudes, and employer attitudes regarding individuals who are blind or low vision continues to be a major barrier in Idaho.
  • 28% of client's surveyed reported independent living and mobility skills are seen as a major need.
  • 16% of client's surveyed reported access to career services, education and employment training programs as a significant need.

While the 2020 CSNA does not specifically assess the needs of supported employment (SE) services for the blind and visually impaired, ICBVI does serve individuals other disabilities that require SE supports and services. In the past two years, ICBVI has serviced 16 individuals who require SE services. This number has been increasing every year since 2016. Historically this has been an underserved population by ICBVI. However, since the passage of WIOA, the Commission has worked collaboratively with IESDB to ensure these individuals are made known to the VR program. Since the Idaho Division of Vocational Rehabilitation manages the SE program for the state, individuals who require SE services are required to apply for services at the Division. The Commission is responsible for providing all of the services and supports to address the visual disability, and IDVR provides the necessary employment services, and services required to address the other physical or mental disabilities. All other VR services are negotiated between the two programs.