[nfbmi-talk] Key provisions in proposed amendmentstoWorkforceInvesstment Act

joe harcz Comcast joeharcz at comcast.net
Mon Apr 14 16:48:40 UTC 2014


No doubt.
----- Original Message ----- 
From: "Christine Boone" <christineboone2 at gmail.com>
To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Sent: Monday, April 14, 2014 12:41 PM
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Key provisions in proposed 
amendmentstoWorkforceInvesstment Act


I cannot disagree with anything you say here Joe.  But your position here, 
and mine as well coincidentally enough, depends upon the knowledge, 
experience, heart, mind and principals of administrators of vocational 
rehabilitation and independent living programs for persons who are blind. 
It takes real work to understand the problems confronted by recipients of 
vocational rehabilitation and independent living services.  It takes actual 
experience, compassion, intelligence, more work and a willingness to learn 
in order to build an agency that helps customers realize socio-economic, 
success.     ,
Real socio-economic success means thatr those clients are ultimately freed 
from further dependence upon the Vocational Rehabilitation agency, because 
even when they hit pits in the road as do all of us in this human 
experiment, they are empowered to move on by themselves, without the need to 
return to the rehabilitation agency.  This is whatr was envisioned by the 
Rehabilitation Act, way back in 1943.


On Apr 10, 2014, at 8:51 AM, joe harcz Comcast <joeharcz at comcast.net> wrote:

> Hi Christine,
>
> Another question or comment and back to the transition issue here. I 
> certainly don't mind the increased empshasis on transition at all. But, if 
> the feds wish to increase that than they should increase funding for it in 
> my opinion.
>
> The rub comes in when services for blind folks alone under the VR program 
> are actually rightfully weighted towards adults who've become blind later 
> in life, during work age. And that is simply a much higher percentage of 
> the general population than the low incident youth.
>
> Now frankly I think all should be served and all have been underserved.
>
> But the problem with this schema is that it appears on its face that 
> funding for adults with disabilities will be pitted against youth with 
> disabilities unless funding levels are increased over all.
>
> We've seen inneffective monitoring of using VR funds for non-VR services 
> here in Michigan to add insult to insult.
>
> We saw that in the RSA monitoring where Eaton-Ingham used VR transition 
> funds for youth without IPES and to fund ISD resources/personnell which 
> were supposed to be paid for with ISD sped funds to begin with.
>
> And of course we saw "reversion to vendor" with the Oakland/New 
> Horizons/MCB fiasco whwhich was more than a conflict of interest on 
> several levels and of which only hands were slapped rather than a full 
> investigation where I think some should have been charge for criminal 
> activities.
>
> Finally on youth transition it is very clear that our blind youth here are 
> not given job experiences, even mundane ones, in the BSBP itself with all 
> the student hires under that program and none. Noe of them being blind.
>
> Now in the belated RSA-2 report during FY 2013 there were supposedly 219 
> blind students being funded for higher ed alone. Does Rodgers think that 
> none of these students aren't a pool of people needing basic work 
> experiences? Does he think, for example none of the blind students at 
> Western couldn't answer the phones at the training center as several 
> non-blind student assistants do?
>
> And that is on the college front alone.
>
> We've heard parents at public forums beg for work experience, even unpaid 
> for their blind youth. And our lead organization with the primary purpose 
> of VR can't find a single one wo do the stuff they hire student assistants 
> to do?
>
>
> Oh and back to the fact that Rodgers has hired and employes two law clerks 
> to do Lord knows what? Even if these were legit, which they are not. He 
> has denoted that BSBP funds blind law students.
>
> So can't this whizz bang find a blind law student to do this stuff?
>
> Lots of questions and lots of comments.
> ----- 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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