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  • Program-Specific Requirements for Vocational Rehabilitation (Combined or General)

    The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services Portion of the Unified or Combined State Plan [13] 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:


    [13] 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. 8. A. Achieve goals and priorities by the State, consistent with the comprehensive needs assessment;

Current Narrative:

Strategies to support Goal 1 - Expand and improve competitive integrated employment and advancement opportunities for youth and adults with disabilities.

• Expand and improve employer and state agency partnerships to achieve Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act common performance measure outcomes. ADRS will build upon the existing business engagement activities, as well as state partnerships with the Alabama Workforce Development Board, Adult Education, local workforce boards and One-stop Career Centers to promote work-based learning opportunities for ADRS participants with an emphasis on in-demand occupations.

• Enhance career guidance competencies of VR counselors through participation in local work force boards fostering knowledge of local labor-market information and in-demand careers.

• Enable consumers to access training and certificate programs necessary to enter or advance into middle skills or other occupations which are in demand.

• Improve counselor competencies regarding career guidance and job placement efforts for older individuals with prior work experience in order to capitalize on prior existing skills and abilities.

• Engage with employers and industry professionals with the goal of improving the alignment of training to employer needs.

• With youth and students, emphasize early work-site experiences with real employers in the community.

Emphasize work-based learning, such as paid internships or cooperative education.

• Engage with non-profit organizations to develop paid work experiences (work-based learning) for individuals with disabilities.

• Implement, when feasible, new reports and tracking systems which align with WIOA performance measures and are designed for staff use. Provide training on the data reports, performance measures, and tracking systems underpinning WIOA implementation. Build upon existing data analysis capacity and tools to support data—driven decision making.

• Enable consumers to enter careers where they can earn a living wage, have long term stability, advancement opportunities and are consistent with the goals listed on their individualized plan for employment. 


Strategies to support Goal 2 - Improve services, outcomes, approaches, and supports for Alabamians with the most significant disabilities including supported employment opportunities.

• Maintain access to a broad range of assistive technology services for individuals with disabilities on a statewide basis.

• Monitor and address the need to offer VR services to those individuals who are currently being served within day programs, for individuals with severe and persistent mental illnesses and individuals with significant development disabilities.

• Support and advocate for efforts aimed at improved access to transportation for individuals with disabilities.

• Continue to support and advocate quality independent living outcomes for individuals with disabilities in Alabama through an active partnership with the State Independent Living Council.

• Develop further options, resources and capacity for Customized Employment services.

• Improve access to and reporting of benefits counseling services received by VR consumers.

• Maintain and increase the number of Project Search sites in Alabama.

• Continue to improve supported employment service delivery for individuals with serious mental illness and co-occurring substance use disorder through evidence-based practices including Individualized Placement and Supports and the use of peer supports. 


Strategies to support Goal 3 - Maintain high levels of consumer satisfaction

• Align the VR General, VR Blind, and VR Deaf consumer satisfaction surveys to provide the same core set of measures.

• Implement an internal method of collecting consumer satisfaction from active cases for use in counselor performance appraisals.

• Improve upon existing efforts to communicate consumer satisfaction results to counselors and their supervisors.

• Utilize satisfaction survey results more extensively in leadership meetings, and supervisory discussions.

• Set and attain consumer satisfaction goals at the state and unit level.

• Provide training and support, ensuring staff have the knowledge and skills needed to deliver quality vocational rehabilitation services.

• Continue to invest in practices and technologies that make VR counselors more accessible to their consumers.


Strategies to support Goal 4 - Continue to serve all eligible applicants and avoid an order of selection

• Continue efforts aimed at drawing the maximum federal share available for Alabamians with disabilities, and when possible/necessary re-allotment funds.

• Monitor and manage service delivery time-frames to ensure efficient processing time and eliminate potential bottlenecks or other delays in eligibility determination or initial plan development.

• Investigate and implement case management system improvements which streamline the eligibility determination, vocational assessment, and plan development processes.

• Ensure that counselors have sufficient resources to meet caseload demands.

• Continue efforts to promote efficient spending, the utilization of comparable benefits, and the management of indirect/administrative costs.

• Seek additional sources of revenue as needed to include braiding of funding with other state agencies.