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n. 1. Specify the State's goals and priorities for funds received under section 603 of the Rehabilitation Act for the provision of supported employment services

Current Narrative:

Goals and Plans for Distribution of Title VI, Part B Funds

To meet the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities, the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) collaborates and contracts with community partners to provide Supported Employment services. For FFY 2017-18, Supported Employment services are funded solely by Title I funding, as Title VI-B funding was not federally approved for this fiscal year. These funds are available on a statewide basis. Florida VR uses the majority of its Supported Employment expenditures on allowable services to youth.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) presents VR with the opportunity to provide a wide array of services with a focus on youth. Additional opportunities available include the provision of Extended Services to youth for up to four years or until the youth turns 25 years of age, whichever occurs first or another funding source is identified. VR is now also authorized to provide supported employment services up to 24 months and may extend this time period if necessary.

 VR has focused on youth services and has expanded several options designed to help youth achieve employment outcomes. These options allow youth to gain a variety of skills and exposure to multiple career options and are designed to provide skills and direction for youth so that when they are ready for Supported Employment services they have skills and knowledge to help their efforts be successful.


Goal 1: Increase the number of individuals with most significant disabilities who receive SupportedEmployment services.

VR will:

Continue to provide supported employment services on a statewide basis through Title I funds. Statewide allocation of funds allows for equal delivery of services throughout Florida. Individuals may receive supported employment services using a combination of Title I funds and revenues generated from Social Security reimbursements, community rehabilitation partners, or other state program revenues.

Provide a variety of training and awareness programs designed to increase the awareness of supported employment as a vocational service for individuals with the most significant disabilities. VR Senior Program Consultants have increased outreach activities with a focus on state and local education partnerships. The VR consultants have provided trainings with a focus on sharing information to assist youth, adults and families in their consideration of pursuing Supported Employment Services.

Review pilot and innovative employment practices and assess the feasibility of replicating programs with successful strategies.

VR has initiated Discovery Services, a person-centered planning tool as a way to increase the number of individuals with significant and complex disabilities receiving supported employment services. Discovery provides an opportunity for individuals to move seamlessly from this person-centered assessment and planning to Supported Employment Services.

VR has initiated a Supported Employment Customized Placement Benchmark to incentives providers to work with individuals who will need more intense supports and assistance to become successfully employed. Training opportunities were developed for providers and VR staff on this customized employment strategy.

Goal 2: Use Title VI, Part B funds for Supported Employment services to achieve the maximum number of quality employment outcomes forindividuals with most significant disabilities with a focus on youth.

  • Use Title I funds, supplemented with VI, Part B funds, to provide supported employment services as specified in the Individualized Plan for Employment for youth.
  • Purchase supported employment services based upon established performance benchmarks. The contract for supported employment focuses on performance and reinforces the focus on successful outcomes for individuals served.
  • Funds may also be used for related customized employment strategies of Supported Self-Employment services
  • Provide up to four years of extended services for youth 25 and under, whichever occurs first or another funding source is identified.
  • VR Consultants have provided extensive outreach to educators, community providers, individuals, families, community partners, VR staff to promote Supported Employment as an opportunity for youth to become successful in becoming employed and developing a career path.
  • VR works closely with the Statewide Employment First Interagency Committee. This group focuses on promoting competitive integrated employment as a first choice for youth and adults with disabilities in Florida.
  • The Program Development and Assistance Bureau provides technical assistance and support to a wide variety of stakeholders.
  • VR has provided youth receiving subminimum wage employment training opportunities to encourage their consideration of competitive integrated employment opportunities. VR offers a four-hour course focused on self-advocacy, communication, employment options in local communities, how to obtain supports and services and other related topics.

Goal 3: Increase Supported Employment training opportunities for VR Counselors, CommunityRehabilitation service staff, families and individuals.

VR will:

  • 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.

Goal 4: Leverage resources for extended ongoing support services.

VR will:

  • Participate as a key member of the Employment First Interagency Committee. This committee is composed of nine agencies/organizations. The focus is on competitive integrated employment as a preferred option for youth and adults. The group also works on a statewide level to leverage and collaborate on the use of resources to benefit all individuals served by the agencies. This includes mutual training, technical assistance, advocacy and other mutually beneficial activities.
  • Continue to work with APD to make sure that referred customers know about the extended service resources 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 ongoing support through Ticket to Work-Employment Network partnerships, natural supports and Social Security Work Incentives as possible resources for ongoing supports.
  • Encourage the use of employer and natural supports.
  • 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 job seekers 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.