[nfbmi-talk] Key provisions in proposed amendments toWorkforceInvesstment Act

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Tue Apr 8 16:10:48 UTC 2014

I could also be wrong too. My chrystal ball is broken.

But, as an additional aside the gridlock doesn't bode well for the Teach Act 
or other positive legislation either.

That is not a knock upon the NFB's legislative efforts by the way. Not at 

But, I personally think we'd be better off with enforcing existing civil 
rights and other laws through law suits and even direct action.

We all know that the Rehab Act in all of its manifestations and all of its 
titles is not being enforced here in Michigan, or even given lip service.

The recent release of the RSA 2 and the ludicrous responses to requests for 
information from BSBP, MPAS, and so-on-and so forth, let alone my 
chronicaling of systemic civil rights/access violations within the system 
are clear testament to that fact.

Quite frankly I think BSBP, MRS and indeed the one-stops here should be 
de-funded as a conditionality of compliance.

I am as serious as a heart attack too on that.

Oh, yes I know people will be hurt in the short run, mostly though it will 
be the scofflaw hacks.

Meanwhile once all services are suspended maybe people who are blind and 
indeed otherwise disabled will wake up to the real crisis here and act.

Regardless I'm sick and tired of funding the likes of Rodgers, Pemble, and 
worse with VR funds for non-VR bovine scatology and without a thought for 
the very consumers they are supposed to be rehabilitating by law and equity 
and without even a pretense of transparency or access.

And as you know I'm not very sanguine about RSA's running of things either. 
For they allow effectively the "block granting" of these VR and even IL 
funds to occer year in and year out.

It is bad everywhere of course, but Michigan is at the bottom of the bottom 

If RSA grew some intestional fortitude and sent a message by de-funding 
Michigan then a happy benefit would be that other states would get their 
acts in full order darned quickly is my thinking.

I know this is a radical option, which some call the "nuclear option". But I 
think it is in order for the system is so corrupted here and no matter what 
anyone thinks federal taxpayer funds should be spent in accordance with the 
law and not for the benefit of plutocrats, bureaucrats, and private sector 
corporate predators who divert those funds away from their primary purpose 
and in to their own filthy pockets.

And while I continue to rant I don't care one wit if these predators carry 
the label Democrat or Republican.

These scofflaws are stealing bread and future from the blind and otherwise 
disabled people for which these funds are supposedly earmarked.

Thanks for the rant....Grin...

----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Christine Boone" <christineboone2 at gmail.com>
To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2014 11:47 AM
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Key provisions in proposed amendments 
toWorkforceInvesstment Act

Hi Joe, You are quite right that we might se no action during this session. 
Indeed, the first time that the Workforce Investment Act came up for 
reauthorization was, I believe in either 2003 or 2004 and it has yet to come 
to fruition.  Given the language on the table this time, no action would be 
preferable to passage of the proposed legislation.
I don't know about Section 509 funding for sure, but believe that funding of 
all covered programs under Wia would be taken up in a separate action 
anyway.  I could be wrong on this.

On Apr 8, 2014, at 11:35 AM, joe harcz Comcast <joeharcz at comcast.net> wrote:

> While I see some issues of real concern Christine I must say something you 
> might not expect. Given the constant gridlock in congress, for good, bad, 
> or indifferent I really doubt that anything will go through this year.
> They are already scrambling for mid-term elections.
> Regardless, I'm wonderring how other programs under the Rehab Act will 
> shake out like say the Section 509 funding for the PAIR program and the 
> CAP funding.
> Lots of questions indeed and thanks for this.
> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Christine Boone" 
> <christineboone2 at gmail.com>
> To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>; 
> <nfbp-talk at yahoogroups.com>
> Sent: Tuesday, April 08, 2014 10:49 AM
> Subject: [nfbmi-talk] Key provisions in proposed amendments to 
> WorkforceInvesstment Act
> Federationists:
> As most of you know, beginning with its reauthorization in 1998, the 
> Rehabilitation Act has been included as Title IV  in the Workforce 
> Investment Act.  That Act has never been reauthorized since its first 
> writing, but it is once again scheduled for reauthorization this year. 
> The current proposal would have some significant negative  ramifications 
> respecting vocational rehabilitation services.  Here is one overview that 
> was prepared by a State Vocational Rehabilitation agency outside Michigan. 
> It is provided here for your information.
> Review of Key Provisions
> in S. 1356 and the SKILLS Act
> S. 1356
> Splits up Rehab Act programs.
> Sends VR to Labor Department, Independent Living to HHS, and NIDRR 
> (research) to HHS.
> The transfer of VR from Education to Labor will disconnect VR from 
> rehabilitation expertise and place it in a department with no 
> rehabilitation experience and a scant record of serving people with severe 
> disabilities.
> The Secretary of Labor would write the regulations for Rehab.
> The new name for RSA would be Disability Employment Services and Supports 
> Administration (DESSA).
> The Commissioner would still be a President’s appointment but would not 
> have to have rehabilitation experience or knowledge.
> Rehab would be put under ODEP (the Office of Disability Employment 
> Policy) – a tiny division that has never administered direct service 
> programs.
> Placement in Labor ties VR closer into the generic One-Stop culture, where 
> the focus is on the general population and specialized approaches tend to 
> be absent.
> The bill mandates state VR programs to expand and intensify services to 
> youth transitioning to post-secondary life, without added funding to do 
> so.
> Youth are defined as age 14-24.
> Creates a new category of Pre-Employment Transition, for youth age 14 up 
> with significant disabilities.  For those in Supported Employment, VR 
> would pay 4 years extended services.
> Makes states set aside 15% of basic VR funds for Transition, limiting 
> administrative spending to 5% of this.
> Requires all VR offices have Transition Coordinator positions with support 
> staff – administrative expenses which would mostly have to come out of 
> basic VR funds, beyond the 15% set-aside.
> These provisions effectively make Transition a priority for VR spending. 
> As a result, some state VR programs may have reduced funds for serving 
> adults with severe disabilities.
> The bill subjects VR to the same performance standards and measures used 
> for Workforce programs for the non-disabled public.  There are concerns 
> this will not accurately reflect VR performance, will be costly to 
> implement, and could discourage service to persons with the most 
> significant disabilities.
> To implement use of common performance measures, VR would have to retool 
> data systems at great cost.  Adjustments in standards to reflect different 
> conditions for the VR population would entail much staff work, negotiation 
> and approval by Labor.
> VR would have to pay for 2 years of extended services for Supported 
> Employment clients, instead of the current flexible 18 months.  This would 
> be 4 years for youth.
> The bill de-emphasizes rehabilitation throughout.
> Rehab credentials for VR staff are weakened.
> There is concern that features in S. 1356 will reduce access to the highly 
> specialized services required to remove employment barriers for people 
> with severe disabilities.
> Positive features in the bill are business relations emphasis, in-demand 
> occupations emphasis, and a focus on career exploration, work experience 
> and internships for youth.
> Skills Act
> H.R. 803 by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC)
> Consolidates 36 federal employment programs, not VR, which remains a 
> mandatory partner, however.  Although VR remains a distinct program, 
> various provisions in the bill tie VR more closely into the generic 
> Workforce system.
> Requires common data reporting and performance measures for all Workforce 
> partners.
> Increases business representation on Workforce state and local boards. 
> Boards would be 2/3 business representatives.  Partner members like VR are 
> not required on the Boards.
> Emphasizes job training that is responsive to in-demand occupations and 
> business needs.
> In HR-803 VR remains a distinct program but is moved more closely into the 
> generic Workforce system.
> Partners must make all their “work-ready” services available at One-Stops. 
> It is uncertain whether this translates to co-location.
> Lets Governors decide what funds each partner must contribute to the 
> One-Stops.  The Governor can require partners contribute funds above those 
> set in any infrastructure formula.  Thus VR funds could be tapped for 
> various One-Stop expenses.
> One-Stops and training providers would have to meet standards, be 
> certified and re-certified every 3 years, with focus on meeting standards 
> of program integration, as well as other goals.
> It is unclear if VR training providers would have to meet training 
> provider criteria set by the Governor.
> Makes RSA commissioner a Director, no longer a Presidential appointment.
> Requires at least 10% of a state’s VR basic funds must be for expanding 
> Transition.
> The Comprehensive Needs Assessment must add a focus on Transition needs 
> and the performance of existing services in meeting those needs.
> Supported Employment title VI grants are eliminated.
> States must set aside one-half of 1% of their basic VR funds for grants to 
> for-profit businesses to do job readiness, training and placement.
> Eliminates in-service training of VR personnel as a training grant 
> purpose.
> Special concerns related to maintaining an effective Rehabilitation 
> system:
> Special concerns for Rehab:  with VR melded more closely into the generic 
> Workforce system in a number of ways – there is concern for the future of 
> some key rehabilitation principles, features and resources that are 
> critical for successful employment results, including:
> informed client choice
> individualized plans and services
> specialized services
> information accessibility
> communication accessibility
> physical accessibility
> availability of specialized staff
> staff and system understanding of disability
> There is concern that more closely merging VR into the generic Workforce 
> system will lead to
> leaching away of VR funds for non-VR use
> cherry-picking – serving the least disabled first
> reduced help for severely disabled with the greatest employment barriers
> increased diversion of staff time to bureaucratic functions, away from 
> direct service delivery.
> ___________________________
> This week staff and administrators from most public VR agencies across the 
> Nation are gathered in Washington D.C.  Today they are on Capitol Hill, 
> visiting with their Congressional delegations.  Yesterday they were 
> briefed by a panel of experts which included leaders of the National 
> Federation of the Blind.
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