- 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. 4. The methods to be used to improve and expand VR services for students with disabilities, including the coordination of services designed to facilitate the transition of such students from school to postsecondary life (including the receipt of VR services, postsecondary education, employment, and pre-employment transition services)
One of the key VR employment service revisions is an increase in VR-funded Discovery activities. The menu of services and activities that is available through the Discovery process has been enhanced, and may include work experience, situational assessments, job shadows, informational interviews, vocational testing, and other related activities. BRS recognizes the importance of Discovery for job seekers with disabilities, and particularly for students or other individuals with disabilities who have little or no work history, or a history of jobs that were not quite the right ‘fit.’
VR has also increased outreach and education to transition aged youth, including revising 3 fact sheets entitled ‘Working with Vocational Rehabilitation’ for students, parents, educators and other stakeholders. The fact sheets provide resources for students, teachers, and families about VR at students’ Transition IEP meetings. BRS has a dedicated youth services director, a youth services coordinator, and has hired and trained 8 new youth counselors (out of 10 total positions) who have worked to expand and improve relationships with key transition stakeholders. The director and coordinator facilitate the VR Transition Advisory Council, engaging in one-on-one conversations, and presenting and educating various stakeholder groups about VR and pre-employment transition services. The Transition Advisory Council has been instrumental in increasing outreach and education related to transition aged youth. Specifically, collaboration with representatives from IIDC, DOE, and DWD on the council has aided in outreach to school systems, training of educators on transition, VR, and Pre-ETS, and services available to transition-aged youth through DWD and other sources.
In 2017 and 2018, student mentoring days were held at Indiana business sites in partnership with local schools, self-advocates of Indiana, and the local Work One. VR also continued to expand the availability of Pre-ETS, ensuring that these activities are available to all students who need them in all of Indiana’s 92 counties.
Furthermore, VR created 10 VR Youth Counselor positions, and filled 8 of these positions as of the end of FFY19 with plans to fill the remaining two positions in 2020. These staff have been conducting needs assessment with local schools and VR offices to identify best practices and gaps in services, have helped to facilitate improved relationships at the local level between VR and schools, and have worked with VR’s Director of Youth Services to outlined recommended best practices and improved strategies for VR transition efforts. These staff are discussed in greater detail throughout the VR section of the state plan.