Florida PYs 2020-2023 Published Approved

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p. 2. A. Identify the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals

Current Narrative:

Review of Section (n) Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI-B Funds in 2018-2019

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is committed to providing quality Supported Employment services to individuals with the most significant disabilities. VR collaborates and contracts with community rehabilitation providers across the state of Florida. VR has focused this year on increasing the quality and capacity of the employment providers. VR may now provide Supported Employment services for up to 24 months, if necessary.

VR has also focused on expanding services to Transition Youth. Career Exploration, Workplace Readiness, Community-Based Work Experiences, Self-Advocacy, Youth Peer Mentoring, and Postsecondary Educational Counseling are all services that were expanded to assist youth in their eventual pursuit of employment.

VR may also offer youth extended services for up to four years, as necessary.

Goal 1: Increase the number of individuals with most significant disabilities who receive Supported Employment Services.

  • VR continues to provide Supported Employment Services on a statewide basis through Title VI- B funds, and with Title I funds when Title VI-B funds are expended
  • Fully expend Title VI-B funds for the provision of Supported Employment services after reserving no more than 2.5% for program administration
  • Provide a variety of training and outreach programs designed to increase the awareness of Supported Employment as an appropriate vocational program for individuals with most significant disabilities
  • Review pilot and innovative employment practices and assess the feasibility of replicating programs using successful strategies

Update:

Supported Employment services were provided to adults and youth who required these services on a statewide basis. Supported Employment funds were used to pay for Placement, Stabilization, Transition, and placement for successful Employment Outcomes. Funds were fully expended on services. Five percent or less was used to support program administration.

VR increased training opportunities for individuals, youth, counselors, providers, and other stakeholders to promote Supported Employment services as a first and preferred service option. Transition Youth services were expanded to offer an array of services that would support youth in pursuing competitive integrated employment opportunities. Fifty percent of the Title VI B funding was expended on youth 24 and under.

VR developed and implemented a Career Counseling Information and Referral Course for individuals participating in subminimum wage employment in 14 (C) entities as required under the Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act. This course provides information that allow individuals to make an informed choice about current and future employment opportunities. Approximately 4,700 individuals participated in this training opportunity. Individuals who stated an interest in pursuing VR services will be provided the information and support needed to apply for VR services.

VR staff have worked with Employment First Partners, Agency for Persons with Disabilities, Project 10 staff, local Education Agencies and other partners to increase Third Party Cooperative Arrangements, Project SEARCH programs and other work experience programs that provide training opportunities that lead to employment.

VR staff have also collaborated with the Florida Association for Rehabilitation Facilities and the ARC of Florida to develop a package of VR services that would assist individuals with most significant disabilities to pursue competitive integrated employment opportunities.

Goal 2: Use Title VI, Part B funds to achieve the maximum number of quality employment outcomes for individuals with the most significant disabilities

  • Use Title I funds, supplemented with Title VI B funds to provide Supported Employment services as specified in the individual plan for employment.
  • Purchase Supported Employment services based upon established performance benchmarks. The contracts for Supported Employment focuses on performance and reinforces the focus on successful outcomes.
  • Funds may also be used for related customized employment strategies and supported self-employment services.

Update:

VR provided Supported Employment services to individuals with most significant disabilities who requested these services. Data below represents VR’s performance in serving Supported Employment customers.

SFY 2018-2019 Supported Employment Performance Data

  • Number of active cases: 10,618
  • Number of Individualized Plans for Employment: 3,384
  • Number of Employment Outcomes: 1,107

VR has increased the number of Supported Employment Providers throughout Florida. Additional training and support has been provided to new employment providers. VR has also added a Customized Job Placement benchmark to support individuals with most significant disabilities who may need a customized employment option.

Goal 3: Increase Supported Employment training opportunities for VR Counselors, Community Rehabilitation Providers, families and individuals.

  • Increase Supported Employment training opportunities for VR counselors, providers, families, and individuals.
  • Participate in the development of a consortium of providers designed to identify, share, and promote innovative employment practices.
  • Promote awareness of social security benefits planning as a way to fund extended services.
  • Continue to provide joint training opportunities for VR employees and the Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD).
  • Provide funding to support collaboration between VR and other community resources through networking and leadership activities.
  • Participate as an advisory member on a variety of grants from the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council that provide training and collaborative activities for providers, counselors, and other agency employees.

Update:

The Supported Employment Senior Consultant continues to provide training on service delivery for individuals with the most significant disabilities to new counselors, as well as follow-up trainings and technical assistance to seasoned counselors and supervisors at conferences, meetings, and workshops.

VR Consultants provided training to families and members in the community as requested. These sessions are designed to provide information and a vision that Supported Employment services are designed for individuals with the most significant disabilities. They provide families and customers with the information they need to become successfully employed. The sessions were provided to the groups and organizations listed below. Additional presentations are made throughout the year to local stakeholder groups.

  • Florida Developmental Disability Council
  • Florida Association of Rehabilitation Facilities
  • Florida ARC Membership
  • Florida Rehabilitation Council
  • Florida Project SEARCH Sites
  • Certified Business and Technical Assistance Consultant Area Trainings
  • Standing Transition Committees throughout Florida
  • Individualized Technical Assistance and Trainings as requested
  • Florida Department of Education - Bureau of Exceptional Education and Student Services
  • Family Café Participants
  • Visions Conference Attendees

VR Senior Consultants provide technical assistance and consultations on individual cases as requested by supervisors, family members, VR staff, and individual customers.

A number of strategies were used to support collaboration between VR and other community resources through networking and leadership activities listed below.

  • Representation on the Florida Developmental Disabilities Council and Employment Task Force. This included helping develop pilot projects on a wide array of employment topics. Administrators were involved as task force members, on advisory committees, and as monitors of projects. The projects complimented and supported VR’s mission of helping individuals prepare for, get or keep a job.
  • Presentations on Supported Employment at conferences around the state. Audiences included professionals, families, and students regarding employment options.
  • Participation as a board member for the Florida Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE).
  • Representation on the Statewide Employment First Initiative by VR’s Supported Employment and Transition Consultants.
  • The VR Senior Consultant coordinated and developed training for providers and staff on Discovery and Customized Employment Services.

VR initiated and implemented training opportunities for adults who were participating in subminimum wage employment. This service was provided in collaboration with 14 (C) employers and community providers. 4,780 individuals received Career Counseling Information and Referral Services during the first year of the program. This course is designed to promote competitive integrated employment opportunities.

Goal 4: Leverage resources for extended ongoing support services

  • Continue to work with APD to make sure that referred customers know about the resources for extended service they can get through Medicaid Waiver Funding and/or general revenue funding.
  • Continue to work with a network of providers to provide technical assistance and support of innovative projects that promote employment for individuals with the most significant disabilities.
  • Provide training on the availability of funding extended services through Ticket to Work-Employment Network partnerships, natural supports, and Social Security Work Incentives.
  • Encourage the use of employer and natural supports as a resource for extended services.
  • Enhance relationships with businesses and employers to let them know that on-the-job supports for individuals in Supported Employment are available. VR will continue efforts to strengthen community partnerships to increase access to appropriate employment services.
  • Use the Business Relations Team to provide training and technical assistance to employers interested in working with VR customers. They will also develop positive relationships with employers to increase employment opportunities.
  • Use the AbilitiesWork Help Desk as a resource to link employers to qualified jobseekers with disabilities. VR is a partner in the development of and administers the AbilitiesWork Help Desk, a collaboration between the state’s Workforce system, Division of Blind Services, and APD.

Update:

VR continues to work closely with the Agency for Persons (APD) with Disabilities to assist VR customers in receiving seamless ongoing support services. VR and APD staff are working together to identify mutual customers and coordinate the needed services.

VR continues to expand its services to include Discovery and Customized Placement services to help individuals with most significant disabilities become employed. Discovery improves the quality of the placements, increases the success of the job placements, and reduces the need for intense follow up supports. Concentrated efforts are in place to continue to increase capacity across the state.

VR and APD consultants work together to provide training for VR counselors, waiver support coordinators, and for APD field staff on best practices in Supported Employment and the roles and responsibilities of all partners. Training included a focus on all of the possible extended service options.

VR may offer youth extended services for up to four years, as necessary.

The Supported Employment administrator provides training to field staff on the multiple options available for extended services. The development of natural and employer supports available on the jobsite has been a specific focus of VR efforts.