- 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
- h. Interagency Cooperation
Describe how the designated State unit will collaborate with the State agency responsible for administering each of the following programs to develop opportunities for competitive integrated employment, to the greatest extent practicable:
- h. Interagency Cooperation
h. 1. The State Medicaid plan under title XIX of the Social Security Act;
VR is in the process of developing and implementing a cooperative agreement with the state agency responsible for administering the State Medicaid Plan (AHCA) and the agency primarily responsible for providing services to persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities (APD). This agreement will specifically focus on Supported Employment services and the roles and responsibilities for coordinating these services on a statewide basis.
The purpose of the agreement is to establish a framework, including terms and conditions that will guide collaborative efforts to advance the development, improvement and expansion of opportunities for competitive integrated employment as the first and preferred option for persons with significant disabilities.
The agreement will formalize the collaborative processes that have been implemented to improve employment outcomes for mutual customers. It will focus on coordinating efforts in interagency planning, referrals, informed choice, cross and joint training as well as the provision of technical assistance.
The agreement endorses a shared philosophy with a common set of guiding principles. These principles include but are not limited to the following:
- All programs, projects and activities will be person-centered and include respect for individual dignity, self-determination, pursuit of meaningful careers and informed choice.
- Reliance on and pursuit of evidence-based best, promising and emerging practices.
- The use of qualified staff to facilitate the achievement of competitive integrated employment.
- Establishment of a referral process for mutual customers.
- To clearly define and clarify boundaries between the VR and APD programs to ensure the complimentary provision of employment services and promote timely access for persons with the most significant disabilities.
VR is working closely with APD to develop competitive integrated employment alternatives for individuals receiving services in a segregated setting. VR will provide technical assistance and support as APD expands these program options. Under WIOA requirements, VR will provide or coordinate information and education for individuals receiving services in sheltered workshops receiving subminimum wages.
VR collaborates with the Florida Department of Children and Families’, Mental Health and Substance Abuse Programs to improve and increase employment opportunities for people with mental illness. Part of this collaborative work is conducted through a formalized Employment First agreement, while other coordination occurs during a customer’s transition from the initial and intense phase of Supported Employment to the ongoing and extended service phase of Supported Employment services.
VR also works in partnership with local education agencies and partners to offer youth with the most significant disabilities opportunities to gain work experiences that help them prepare for successful employment. Collaborations such as High School/ High Tech (HSHT), Project SEARCH, Third Party Cooperative Arrangements and Postsecondary Education programs engage youth in experiences that blend academics with career and technical education. They provide hands-on career exploration and preparation activities where learned skills, attitudes and behaviors can be applied. These evidence-based applications of learning, which includes internships and other work experiences, often lead to successful employment with appropriate supports.
For some students, these programs include earning postsecondary credentials which allow them to explore professional jobs that may lead to higher-wage careers. VR involvement in these collaborations provide funding for participants to receive services and other supports needed to prepare for and maintain employment. This shared support helps partner programs serve more youth. VR partnerships deliver career development and employment options through direct services to youth who would not otherwise have access to these services.