- 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
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
The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services (ADRS) has an extensive history and commitment to providing supported employment within the state. ADRS matches Supported Employment grant dollars at over 10 times the amount of the grant award. Our state currently receives a formula grant award of $300,000 in Title VI funds. Title VI grant funds are only spent on individuals in supported employment after an employment outcome is achieved. Our state currently spends over 4 million dollars on supported employment outcomes and over 1 million additional dollars through contractual agreements for Project SEARCH (PS) and Individual Placement and Supports (IPS) Supported Employment Programs. The priority of the department is to improve services to Alabamians with the most significant disabilities. ADRS distributes supported employment funds to its rehabilitation counselors who in turn purchase needed supported employment services through a network of approved vendors utilizing a Milestones outcome based payment system. This process provides payments to authorized supported employment providers for assisting individuals to reach Milestones toward successful employment. Supported Employment providers are reimbursed for the following Milestones:
1: Determination of Needs (20% of total) (Discovery or Person Centered Profiles can be substituted making it approx. 26%)
2. Job Development and Hire (20 % of total)
3. Job Coaching and Retention (25 % of total)
4. Successful Closure (Employment Stability for 90 days) (35% of total) ***80% of funding occurs on and after the person is employed (74% with Discovery)
Each provider receives funding based on the milestone achieved for each person served. Provider goals are based upon past performance, input from the ADRS liaison counselor, and the estimated need for supported employment services in each
service area of the state. Supported employment services are provided utilizing an individualized, customer driven approach, encompassing each person’s individual support needs to ensure an appropriate and successful job match. Additionally, The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services has committed to improving successful supported employment outcomes through collaboration and coordination with other agencies and organizations including sharing or braiding funding. ADRS is currently participating in the following collaborative efforts to help achieve supported employment priorities:
We have 16 Project SEARCH sites in Alabama serving over 150 students and youth. For the secondary programs, this collaboration involves Alabama Department of Mental Health-that provides extended services for students and youth, Alabama Council on Developmental Disabilities that provides funding for training and technical assistance, the local school systems that fund a teacher (some programs also fund a teacher’s aide), local Community Rehabilitation Partners that train and supervise the skills training instructors on site, and our department that funds two skills training instructors at each site. Our state is unique in that our Project SEARCH sites are led by a state team which provides oversite to the programs and participates in the steering committee meetings. This state team consists of members of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Alabama State Department of Education, and the Alabama Department of Mental Health.
For the youth Project SEARCH programs, ADRS funds the skills training instructor(s), local workforce boards also fund a skills training instructor. The One-stop Career Centers provide work based learning and Post-secondary Education provides the instructor.
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Supported Employment- This program
serves individuals in supported employment who have serious mental illness and co- occurring substance use disorder. This is a collaboration between the Alabama Department of Mental Health and the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services. Our state currently collaborates for three IPS programs, Altapointe Mental Health, Chilton/Shelby Mental Health, and Montgomery Mental Health Authority. Long term support is provided by the therapeutic team or through case management at the local mental health centers.
Connections is a program that serves students and youth on the Autism Spectrum and provides support services for parents. This highly successful transition program is provided in four locations throughout the state. These include Decatur, Birmingham, Montgomery and Enterprise.
Recently, ADRS and ADMH released an RFP to community rehabilitation providers who serve individuals through pre-vocational services in day settings. This braiding of funding initiative is designed to move individuals with intellectual disabilities from day habilitation settings to competitive integrated employment.
We have seen an increase in SE services over the past several years and anticipate, through pre-employment transition services, to continue serving those with more significant disabilities at an earlier age. Providers are encouraged to provide work based learning experiences to individuals with more significant disabilities