- 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. 8. C. Overcome identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals with disabilities in the State VR Services Program and the State Supported Employment Services Program.
ADRS has committed additional staff to address the needs of people with the most significant disabilities in order to improve access to services. Additional staff members have been added to expand and improve supported employment services for this population. Pre-employment transition specialists have been added to serve students and youth for the general program and for the blind and deaf program.
The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services strives to ensure that there is equitable access to the State VR Services Program and the State Supported Employment Services Program for all potentially eligible and eligible consumers. For participating in VR services all forms of auxiliary aids, as defined by the ADA, are provided to consumers based on individual needs including assistive technology.
In order to elevate language barriers, ADRS offers written and oral interpreting and translation services at no cost to individuals who are applying for or receiving services. A notice of these available services is included with all important documents and notifications. Counselors and staff have access to language interpreters through a language line service, as well as language interpreters through our vendor system. In addition, correspondence and other print materials are provided in the consumers format of choice to include large print, braille, electronic, etc.
Our VR counselors for the deaf are required to possess an intermediate rating on the Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) ensuring that deaf consumers are communicated to in their native language. In addition, we have 11 full-time nationally certified sign language interpreters located in our offices statewide, as well as access to additional sign language interpreters through our partners and vendor network.
To address the barrier of transportation in terms of access, we have 19 offices throughout the state. In addition, we have staff that are co-located in 29 One Stop Career Centers that are located throughout the state. As appropriate, and when necessary to promote access, itinerant services are provided in homes, schools, workplaces, etc. ADRS also has liaison counselors for all secondary and post- secondary schools, prisons, and select hospitals.
Specific strategies to overcoming identified barriers relating to equitable access to and participation of individuals in the State Supported Services Program include continued collaboration with the Alabama Department of Mental Health to promote and expand the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment, continuation of the GATE Project, and expansion of the Connections Program for individuals with autism. State Office Specialists representing the State Supported Employment Program have contacted all the entities in the state, that they are aware of, that hold sub-minimum certificate to arrange counseling to those entities, individuals served by those entities, and their families. These efforts focus on providing access to information and services that will enable them to achieve competitive integrated employment and include benefits counseling. These efforts are ongoing.