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j. 1. A. With the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;

Current Narrative:

Statewide Assessment

In February 2019, VR, in collaboration with the Florida Rehabilitation Council (FRC), completed its three- year comprehensive statewide needs assessment (CSNA). The CSNA was conducted by the San Diego State University Interwork Institute. They worked closely with VR, FRC, and VR’s stakeholder groups to describe the rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities in Florida. The CSNA consisted of the following components: analysis of existing data sources, key informant and focus group interviews, surveys of individuals with disabilities, partner surveys, VR staff surveys, and business surveys. Findings and recommendations from the CSNA will guide agency planning and development of state plans for federal fiscal years 2020 - 2023.

With respect to the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment, the CSNA identified the following recurring themes:

  • Transportation remains the most significant need of consumers served by VR, and this is especially true in rural areas
  • The most frequently cited vocational rehabilitation needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities included all types of training, work skills, increased education, work experience and social skills development.
  • Employer misconceptions about the ability of individuals with disabilities is a significant barrier to employment and becomes more significant with the increase in the significance of the disability.
  • There is an ever-increasing percentage of individuals being served by VR that have significant mental health impairments. VR staff and service providers need training to ensure they are aware of how to best serve this population.
  • There is a reduction in the number of individuals working in subminimum wage employment in Florida, and VR and their network of providers needs to be sure that they have the capacity to serve these individuals through furthering developing their capacity to provide supported and customized employment.
  • Self-advocacy training for individuals with disabilities is an essential rehabilitation need.