NOTE: 2020 is the 100th anniversary of the Vocational Rehabilitation Program.
By Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities (OOD)
Throughout its 100-year existence, the nation’s vocational rehabilitation (VR) program has continually adapted and evolved to meet changing public needs. This spirit is certainly evident today, as state VR agencies respond to the rapidly shifting employment landscape triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It isn’t too scary,” Levi Welsch said, when asked how he felt about the possibility of his vision loss deteriorating in the future. “I am learning skills,” he said, “and I know that Minnesota State Services for the Blind (SSB) has my back.”
As part of OSERS’ commitment to rethink its work to ensure that it is in the best position to achieve its mission, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) is rethinking the way it supports and partners with its key stakeholders to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
One aspect of this ongoing work is rethinking how RSA evaluates the technical assistance needs of State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and RSA’s strategies for disseminating resources and tools that help State VR agencies provide services to individuals with disabilities and the business community.
Through this blog, RSA is interested in receiving feedback from State VR agencies and stakeholders related to two areas: employer services and career advancement under the VR program. In particular, RSA requests that commenters respond to the following questions:
Do State VR agencies need technical assistance or additional information from RSA related to on-demand training (e.g., online videos) for businesses and other employers related to disability issues?
If so, what topics should RSA specifically address related to on-demand training for businesses related to disability issues and through what mode(s) should RSA provide this technical assistance to State VR agencies?
Do State VR agencies need technical assistance or additional information from RSA related to the provision of career advancement services for individuals with disabilities who are employed?
If so, what topics should RSA specifically address related to career advancement and through what mode(s) should RSA deliver this technical assistance to State VR agencies?
RSA will consider comments submitted to the OSERS Blog through December 5, 2019. We appreciate your thoughtful feedback as we work to maximize employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
Note: To help us in our review, we ask that you only address the questions in the comment section. To protect your privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as a Social Security number, an address, a phone number or an email address in the body of your comment. Comments containing the aforementioned information, or that do not address the above questions, will not be allowed.
Use of joint discretionary grant funding from the Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) in the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS) to provide technical assistance (TA) to State Education Agencies (SEAs), Local Educational Agencies (LEAs), State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs), and Career and Technical Education (CTE)
U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos believes in the innate potential of every student and knows that access to high-quality services are an essential part of local, State, and Federal efforts to improve outcomes for all students and youth with disabilities. OSERS is seeking input from the public, particularly SEAs, LEAs, SVRAs, parents and CTE educators, and other relevant stakeholders on how best to provide TA to States in order to improve postsecondary transition services to all students and youth with disabilities. Additionally, OSERS seeks input on how best to strengthen and expand coordination and collaboration with OSERS Parent Training and Information Centers and other relevant TA centers.
NOTE: October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month.
The National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT) assists state and local education agencies and VR agencies and service providers, and it keeps close contact with these agencies and providers in order to share real stories of real youth being supported in transition programs. Alaska and Nevada are just two of the states that are creating programs to help youth with disabilities transition into a work environment.
October is Learning Disabilities/Dyslexia/Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) Awareness Month.
Nicola—a mom of three and an advocate—and her son Dylan, a college sophomore, share what has made their journey unique in hopes of inspiring others. Below, they take turns asking questions and telling their story.