On January 10, 2022, RSA published the FY 2022 Monitoring and Technical Assistance Guide (MTAG). The MTAG continues to represent the culmination of the collaborative work of members of the Monitoring Work Group consisting of VR agency directors representing CSAVR and NCSAB as well as RSA, including the Acting Deputy Commissioner, State Team Facilitators, Unit Chiefs, and others.
The MTAG is intended to serve as a resource and planning guide for VR agencies and RSA to assist in the preparation for and conduct of monitoring and technical assistance activities in both program and fiscal performance focus areas with a goal of continuous improvement, taking into account the unique circumstances and needs of each VR agency.
RSA selected twelve VR agencies for reviews in FFY 2022 using the MTAG. More information is available at VR Program Monitoring.
The Department of Education Grants Policy and Training Division (GPTD) is pleased to announce two new Online Grants Training Courses for ED’s external stakeholders that were recently posted this fiscal year, Subrecipient Monitoring and Allowable Cost and Activities. The Subrecipient Monitoring course is intended for ED grantees that make subawards while the Allowable Cost and Activities course provides both ED grantees and subgrantees a high-level overview of the concepts and regulations behind using Federal grant funds for allowable costs and activities. Both courses are now part of a resource list of grants management trainings that program staff can share with grantees. The other available online courses are on ED.Gov at Grants Training and Management Resources - Online Grants Training and include: Internal Controls, Indirect Costs, Formula Grants Training, Cash Management, Discretionary Grants Administration and Human Subjects Research.
From FY 2015 through FY 2020, RSA awarded $3.5 million annually to the State VR agencies of Georgia, Kentucky, Nebraska, and Virginia to develop and demonstrate the use of career pathways to support VR-eligible individuals with disabilities to obtain quality employment in high demand occupations and industries.
Through CPID-funded education, training and supports, participating VR agencies helped hundreds of individuals with disabilities, including youth and individuals with significant disabilities, to achieve competitive integrated employment in promising careers through sequential, industry-recognized post-secondary credentials and marketable skills.
Between October 1, 2017, and September 30, 2020 (after the initial project set-up year), 5,250 individuals with disabilities – including more than 2,200 students and youth with disabilities – participated in CPID. The following are some of CPID’s key aggregate outcomes:
CPID participants accessed 109 career pathways in diverse occupational clusters such as advanced manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, construction and architecture, and transportation, distribution, and logistics;
840 CPID participants achieved competitive integrated employment after attaining the requisite postsecondary credentials;
CPID participants’ average weekly earnings increased from $543 in FY 2017 to $683 in FY 2020, and their median weekly earnings increased from $448 to $560 during the same period; and
The proportion of CPID participants whose employment outcomes included employer-provided health insurance increased from 43 percent in FY 2017 to 57 percent in FY 2020.
Leading CPID strategies and initiatives included the following:
Hands-on career exploration and counseling, secondary school career-readiness curricula and supports, work-based learning academies, post-secondary education and training opportunities, job development in diverse fields from STEM to health profession to advanced manufacturing;
Pre-apprenticeship, apprenticeship, customized employment, and workforce upskilling opportunities through partnerships with employers, business associations, labor unions, community rehabilitation programs, State and local education agencies, career and technical educational institutions and other workforce development partners; and
Career pathways principles and practices integrated into participating agencies’ broader VR service delivery activities, through the development and dissemination of CPID presentations, trainings, and resources.
These presentations, trainings and resources are available through the NCRTM library at: https://ncrtm.ed.gov/SearchResults.aspx?st=CPID+Resources. We encourage you to explore the extensive compendium of webinars, toolkits, success stories, videos, articles, project evaluations and analyses from each of the CPID grantees.
If you are interested in learning more about employment opportunities, including Career Pathways. We encourage you to connect to your local VR agency for more information.
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) is a model of supported employment for people with serious mental illness (e.g., schizophrenia spectrum disorder, bipolar, depression). IPS supported employment helps people living with behavioral health conditions work at regular jobs of their choosing. Although variations of supported employment exist, IPS refers to the evidence-based practice of supported employment. Mainstream education and technical training are included as ways to advance career paths (Source: https://ipsworks.org/).
Nate is a great example of an IPS success story. Prior to obtaining employment, Nate struggled with his mental health diagnosis and his diabetes. With these two health challenges Nate felt bleak regarding his employment outlook. Nate was uncertain about his financial future, so he decided to apply for Social Security benefits because he felt this was the only manner to receive financial stability. Nate wanted to work and pressed on in his journey to employment. He began receiving services from Community Employment Services in Illinois to help him with preparing and finding employment. Community Employment Services helped Nate prepare for employment and encouraged him on his journey to employment. On March 12, 2021, Nate accepted a full-time custodian position with the Par-a-dice Casino.
Nate transitioned effortlessly to being employed. For the last two years he has worked a full-time. For many weeks, Nate has volunteered to work overtime (40-50 hours a week) to cover unfilled shifts for call-ins while having perfect attendance himself. Nate has been recognized by his employer for doing an outstanding job and was nominated for “Employee of the Month”. In addition, Nate has been approached about training for a supervisor role.
Nate’s work success has also brought on many other positive life changes. Employment has assisted Nate with financial independence. He was able to purchase a new car. His employment has also helped him improve his physical health. Nate reports being in his best physical shape of his life. Nate’s confidence and independence has healed and improved his relationships with family members. Nate recently met his 90 days successful employment milestone and continues to grow and thrive in his job.
Congratulations to Nate and best wishes as you continue your journey! To learn more about IPS please visit IPS Employment Center. If you are interested in participating in the IPS program in your local area, please check with your local VR agency to see if this service is available.
The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) presents The IT’S EMPLOYMENT training series. This series is designed to guide vocational rehabilitation (VR) staff and related partners in supporting improved employment services and outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities who receive services through VR agencies. This training offers self-paced, online training modules that have been developed based on research and promising practices.
Each module is equivalent to two hours of learning. ICI will provide CRC credits. Participants can take as few or as many modules as they like, depending on their professional development needs. ICI will offer a new topic each month. Each topic will be available for one month. Facilitator guides for each course will be available to support group learning and discussions.
These courses are free of charge. Registration is now open. Once you register for one module you will be able to access all subsequent modules as they are made available.
Upcoming Training Modules:
Best Practices in Career Planning and Assessment (January 2022). Effective career planning and assessment is critical for helping people with intellectual disabilities find meaningful, well-matched careers. This module will explore best practices in career planning, work-based learning strategies, and the key elements of Discovery as well as how Discovery can enhance the career planning process.
Financial Well-Being (February 2022). Supporting people with intellectual disabilities to work requires an understanding of the job seeker’s financial needs and goals. Working with job seekers and their families to integrate considerations for financial well-being and the impact of work on public benefits can be complex. This course will introduce approaches as well as resources to help people with intellectual disabilities access opportunities to work to their full potential. This course includes a basic overview of public benefits systems commonly used by people with intellectual disabilities.
In addition to the training series, IT’S EMPLOYMENT is pleased to offer an online, instructor-led course to support VR staff and related partners in facilitating improved employment services and outcomes for individuals with intellectual disabilities who receive services through VR agencies. The Winter Comprehensive Course will run from February 1 through April 8, 2022. This course is free of charge. You can receive 27 CRCC credits (20.5 general and 6.5 ethics credits) upon completion of this course. Register by January 28, 2022.
Learning about an Individual and Building a Career Plan: Parts 1 and 2
Business Engagement Practices and the Dual-Customer Approach
Thinking Outside the Box: Creating Opportunities for Individuals with IDD
Planning for Job Success
Transition Services and Coordination to Support Competitive Integrated Employment
Supporting Financial Literacy and Well-Being
In this course, you will learn important knowledge and skills to effectively support job seekers with intellectual disabilities throughout the employment process. You will have opportunities to interact with instructors and other participants through discussion boards, field work assignments, reflections on best-practices, and opportunities for practical applications. A new course lesson will be introduced each week. You can work through each lesson at your own pace, but all coursework must be complete by April 8, 2022.
A new language analysis team (LAT2) comprised of native signers with diagnostic assessment skills analyzed a set of language samples. The overarching goal is to increase interpreters’ ability to adapt their language use and interpreting strategies to meet the linguistic needs of a broader range of Deaf and DeafBlind individuals. Using GoReact, team members point out instances and patterns of what can be described as atypical language. The team offers recommendations for interpreting strategies that would be most effective based on the language assessments. An accompanying report is provided describing the goals, process, and findings of language analysis team.
On December 20, 2021 RSA hosted the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS)- Assistance Listing Number 84.250P Pre-Application webinar. The webinar, slide deck, and FAQs are available.
The Social Security Administration’s (SSA’s) Analyzing Relationships between Disability, Rehabilitation and Work (ARDRAW) Small Grant Program is a one-year $10,000 stipend program awarded to graduate-level students to conduct supervised independent research designed to foster new analysis of work, rehabilitation, and disability issues, which may develop innovative and fresh perspectives on disability. ARDRAW focuses on research relevant to SSA’s work incentives and employment supports – specifically rehabilitation, work and the disability program.
World Braille Day on January 4 is celebrated to honor the birth of Braille’s inventor, Louis Braille. Braille helps people who are blind read using a tactile system and has enhanced the lives of millions of people around the world who are blind or visually impaired. To learn more about the life and works of Louis Braille as well as Braille resources we encourage you to check out National Federation for the Blind.
This newsletter includes some acronyms for RSA-funded Technical Assistance Centers and other grantee offerings. Links to these centers are included in the “RSA-Funded Assistance and Other Resources” section of the NCRTM.
The National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM) is maintained by New Editions Consulting, Inc. and is sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), under Contract No.91990021C0033. However, these contents do not necessarily represent the policy of the Department of Education, and you should not assume endorsement by the Federal Government.