[nfbmi-talk] Key provisions in proposed amendmentstoWorkforceInvesstment Act

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Tue Apr 8 18:33:31 UTC 2014


You know I think that order of selection might not be such a bad thing at 
least for those who are blind and otherwise severely disabled.

Though as most know I loath the distinctions beteeen people with 
disabilities in general under OS the most dseverely disabled will be 
"served" first. And certainly VR agencies including MRS here and to a lessor 
degree MCB/BSBP have "cherry picked" the people they serve because of 
outcomes.

For example MRS recently noted under Lew Adams that fully 10 percent plus of 
people with successful outcomes were substant abusers and/or alcolics.

(I'm assuming in recovery by the way so don't wish to get in to that 
debate.)

However, simple logic and a simple reading of the Rehab Act is that VR 
agencies are supposed to serve the most severely disabled first, foremost 
and so on.

Now, this might bristle a bit with Federationist philosophy, but not really. 
It is a straight forward fact that blindness is a much more disabling 
condition than is drug addiction. So is quadraplegia for that matter. So is 
having Downs syndrome.

No all disabilities are not equal. And I do consider for purposes of 
protection under civil rights all as protected, but with VR funding and 
programs some are more profound in employment prospects than others.

Now, please, please, please all (not Christine here for she understands what 
I'm talking about here) in the VR context_ I'm not saying anything to 
subvert or undermine NFB philosophy here. I do think that legally we who are 
blind are people with disabilities, but I also think that we can achieve 
anything any non-disabled person can achieve if given, which is a 
birthright, like it or not the proper skills training and accommodations, 
etc.

By the way not to pit one disability for lack of a better term against 
another I certainly think that those in recovery are PWD in need of 
assistance and for the bettermet of society. But I digress only slightly 
again from my fundamental point which is the VR program from its inception 
was to make people with the most severe disabilities "work ready" in the 
first place.

Hope all get my fundamental point, but here in Michigan and in many other 
states everyone is "creaming the system" and here in Michigan we don't even 
pretend anymore for this system here is all about non-disabled, non-blind 
hacktoids making a buck at our expense and occassionely we put a blink like 
Rob Essenberg out on roller skates and roll him about and say, "Look at the 
wonderful thing this system has created."
----- 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 1:26 PM
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Key provisions in proposed 
amendmentstoWorkforceInvesstment Act


I am with you here.
Just stating facts.
Every general agency will be on Order of Selection very soon because of the 
impact that has resulted from the need to fully fund recipients of SS.  This 
is because general agencies have, in nearly all cases provided a smaller 
percentage of college funding to each individual customer.  When we take 
into account the larger customer base served by general agencies, the impact 
is more than significant.

On Apr 8, 2014, at 12:33 PM, joe harcz Comcast <joeharcz at comcast.net> wrote:

> On your latter point Christine one of the things sited in the last 
> so-called RSA monitoring here is that MRS was cited for violating the 
> Rehab Act over a decade for requiring a means test for SSI and SSDI 
> recipients who were not blind.
>
> Of course, MCB at the time was cited for violating similar provisions 
> inmaintainence.
>
> And we know they've violated the general provisions as well for years.
>
> I mean that mercenary punk lawyerMichael O. King, paid with by MCB bucks 
> even argued in court on the Terry Eagle case that Terry must be required 
> to pay $30,000 for training!
>
> That is in the public record!
>
> And that is just one extreme example of fundamental Rehab Act violations 
> in a court record.
>
> We all know things were worse than that and are even worse now.
>
> By the way if one examines even the college funding which one can only 
> glean from past reports which is why I ask for them we'll note that MCB 
> sent many more blind students to college and paid for them then they do 
> now.
>
> It is hard to ferret out the information, but simply if we take a look at 
> state plan information, comparativie monitoring reviews and the belated 
> RSA-2 report we see a steady decline of the aggregate numbers of blind 
> students alone who are being funded for college and or other postsecondary 
> ed.
>
> Yet, the percent of VR funds has gone up.
>
> Now, this goes to a rather complicated issue in that during the last 
> fifteen years the cost of higher ed has escalated dramatically especially 
> as state supports have dropped and as the recession lingers.
>
> The VR funding is simply a transfer, but I suggest an important one and 
> should be maintained.
>
> At least that is what existing law says is so, though again not followed.
>
> Oh, as an aside when that narcistic puke Rodgers brags about how many 
> students he (note he always says I fund like it is his personal money) for 
> college like it is some sort of perk and a real nice charitable thing he 
> is doing personally for those blind kids, and adults....Well it makes me 
> ill.
>
> It is his job to do so.
>
> Moreover, as Dearest Lydia and other parents of blind persons and others 
> point out the system even here is broken for what about the kids and even 
> adults who are blind and who are not so-called "college material"?
>
> Meanwhile the likes of Rodgers and Pemble who wouldn't know the Rehab Act 
> if it snuck up on them in the dark and bit them on their behinds make 
> $128,000 and $116,000 per year respectively out of VR funds to fiddle 
> about with our lives.
>
> Lord I want these predators to be unemployed as I do their susupiors and 
> handlers in this current administration.
>
> Another rant....Sorry....
>
> The situation makes me ill. But we must speak truth to power and we must 
> as Federationists fight for the rights and empowerment of blind citizens, 
> even those who don't affiliate with us.
>
>
>
>
>
>
> ----- 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 12:07 PM
> Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Key provisions in proposed amendments 
> toWorkforceInvesstment Act
>
>
> That funding should not change, however the move of rehabilitation 
> programs out of DOE will impact partnerships and supports for secondary 
> education and the ripple effect of this cannot be known.
>
> Also, you need to remember that funding levels for post secondary 
> education are much lower in general VR programs than in blindness 
> programs, even for individuals receiving SSI and SSDI.
>
> On Apr 8, 2014, at 11:49 AM, joe harcz Comcast <joeharcz at comcast.net> 
> wrote:
>
>> Another question here Christine. How will funding for higher education 
>> and/or other postsecondary training occer under changes?
>>
>> In other words the only thing IMO that VR does right, when they do it is 
>> to fund one hundred percent of college/postsecondary ed for PWD who are 
>> on SSI or SSDI.
>>
>> Will that change under this schema?
>>
>> As an aside we know that BSBP and MRS has violated these provisions, but 
>> another story for another day I suppose.
>> ----- 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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>
>
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