Assist people with disabilities to obtain and maintain employment.
- Provide individualized services to enable people with disabilities to secure employment.
|Mission Results||Core Services|
|A: Result - Alaskans with disabilities enter employment and become more economically self-sufficient.|
Target #1: Individuals exiting the Vocational Rehabilitation program are employed.
Analysis of results and challenges: In order to be considered a successful closure when exiting the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR), an individual must obtain competitive integrated employment and maintain that employment for a minimum of 90 days. The number of individuals who maintained competitive integrated employment decreased in FY2021 due to the impact of COVID-19. Federal Common Performance Measures rate a state's success based upon employment retention and median wages at second quarter after exit and employment retention at fourth quarter after exit. DVR continues to place a heightened emphasis on the quality and appropriateness of an employment outcome rather than the number of individuals exiting the program to encourage long-term employment opportunities for clients. DVR has seen the quality and retention of an individual's employment to continue increase as shown by the increase in average wages at exit.
|A1: Core Service - Provide individualized services to enable people with disabilities to secure employment.|
Target #1: 95 percent of eligibility determinations made within 60 days.
Analysis of results and challenges: Determining the eligibility of an individual with a disability for vocational rehabilitation services within 60 days of application is required by federal regulation, and also represents responsive customer service. The determination of eligibility is the point at which counselors and individuals can begin vocational rehabilitation planning and determine the most appropriate employment goal. Decisions that cannot be made within the 60 day time period are often due to an individual’s need to participate in a Trial Work assessment, which is an allowable reason for an eligibility extension beyond the 60 days.
Target #2: 85 percent of the Individualized Plans for Employment are developed within 90 days.
Analysis of results and challenges: An Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is considered successfully completed when an individual receives the necessary rehabilitation services identified on the IPE, is able to obtain employment, and the employment is maintained for 90 days. This measure speaks to the efficiency and effectiveness of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) process.
IPEs are extremely comprehensive and must be developed thoughtfully and in conjunction with the individual or their representative. The IPE delineates the employment goal, the type of rehabilitation services required to reach the employment goal, the estimated costs of those services, who will provide the services, and the length of time anticipated for the individual to complete the plan. Successful plan implementation requires the expertise of qualified vocational rehabilitation counselors; active involvement by the individual; labor market research; and consideration of the individual's strengths, resources priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. In the state of Alaska, the labor market, unemployment rate, access to healthcare, and overall economic trends can drastically affect this rate.
The Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act of 2014 requires IPEs to be developed within 90 days, unless the individual agrees to an extension. DVR has seen an increase in this percentage due to increased training of VR staff, and early assessments and evaluations to ensure the most appropriate vocational goal is chosen in a timely manner. DVR continues to provide training to all staff on strategies for developing IPEs within 90 days, including using specialized software designed to enhance communication and engagement.
Target #3: Increase the number of Pre-Employment Transition Students every year.
Analysis of results and challenges: Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS), as required by the Workforce and Innovation Opportunity Act of 2014, are services designed to assist students with disabilities, ages 14-21, in preparing for the transition from secondary school into the workforce and/or post-secondary opportunities. Pre-ETS includes: (1) job exploration counseling; (2) work based learning experiences; (3) counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs at institutions of higher education; (4) workplace readiness training and independent living; and (5) instruction in self-advocacy and peer mentoring. DVR is required to expend 15 percent of its federal award on these services. Potentially eligible students with disabilities are not necessarily expected to apply for DVR services, as it is anticipated these services will better prepare students for the world of work after they exit secondary or post-secondary education. Alaska DVR has been at the forefront of Pre-ETS service delivery, however, in-person transition camps and summer work experience programs were significantly impacted due to COVID-19 and the risk to students with disabilities. DVR was still able to provide 543 students with disabilities with Pre-ETS throughout FY2021.
DVR has made significant strides in providing Pre-ETS throughout the state of Alaska by building relationships with school districts and community partners. There are approximately 3,575 Alaskans ages 14-21 who experience a disability. In FY2021, most of the school year was impacted by the pandemic, but DVR was still able to serve 15 percent of this population.
Current as of November 22, 2021