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Fostering Positive work experiences with Vocational Rehabilitation Services

Transition

Greetings everyone !


I want to welcome Cory Parker who has been one of the southeast regional representatives since July 2016, As a regional representative he provides an array of services including information and referral , assessment, consultation and technical assistance to Alabama , Georgia , Florida , Mississippi and the US Virgin Islands. Prior to joining HKNC he was the State Coordinator of Deaf-Blind Services at the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and supported the Florida DB project in a variety of ways.

For those of you who are supporting a young adult who is thinking about college , career , and or community living it is inevitable that you will need to engage Voc Rehab. With new federal mandates aimed at pre- employment transition services its important for us to think about what this all means for schools and adult services. 

I encourage you to ask Cory questions and tap into his resources and expertise.

thanks !

Michael Fagbemi




Mike Fagbemi

Posted 10 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

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Comments (17)

Thanks Marlene, I think what continues to puzzle and often times frustrate TA providers is WIOA has the 15% set aside to address the transition needs of those young adults with most complex disabilities but those funds are largely not spent. I know that there is an effort to close that communication gap between the schools who are waiting for parents to invite VR to the table and VR who are waiting to be invited. WIOA is making a difference in some disability categories. I am still hopeful those with more complex needs are forging new pathways that were closed prior to WIOA. We need success stories.

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Hi Mike,
I wanted to comment on your question below in regards to if WIOA is reaching out to the students with the most significant disabilities. When I worked at DVR I saw a lot of misunderstandings around who VR could serve. Sometimes the teachers thought VR would only serve individuals that had cognitive limitations and/or severe disabilities while other teachers thought they could not. Oftentimes the first link to VR is through the teachers but if they do not understand all students with disabilities should be considered there are many who are never refereed. With the new mandate I know that the VR systems are trying to reach out to students, schools and teachers. What the parents here can do is either request their child's teacher connect them with VR or they can directly reach out to VR. It is also important for parents to know that their child cannot be determined ineligible for services based on their disabilities. VR is required to do an assessment, TWE Trial Work Experience to determine if they are eligible for services.

Marlene Swarts

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Marlene Swarts

Each state VR is required to have a state plan as to how transition aged youth are served under the WIOA. The WIOA mandates each state to provide pre-employment transition services(Pre-ETS) to students who are eligible including deaf-blind. VR works with the local school districts in an outreach plan to inform of local opportunities available to students including deaf-blind.
VR can be invited to the students IEP meetings and provide information on local available options offered for Pre ETS. Parents should also find out about communication access plans during Pre-ETS services. Your local VR office should have a plan for providing access to all students during Pre-ETS services. When applying for Pre-ETS services be sure to include a request communication access in the paperwork and follow up until you have confirmation of interpreter services for your child. The communication access requests allow VR to track deaf-blind transition age students activities. Early preparation is the key. HKNC Reps can assist parents with VR connections as well as communication access options.
One student was able to take part in Pre-ETS opportunities with the local Center for Independent Living (CIL). During planning for Pre-ETS training, parents and other members of the IEP team made the request for communication access. The team worked together with the local VR office to provide communication access. While the transition student was the only deaf-blind in her group, she was still able to fully participate and learn.
HKNC Reps, state Deaf-Blind Projects and schools can further tap into what the WIOA can offer to transition students by working closely with their local VR.

Cory  Parker

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Cory Parker

Thanks Cory - I am interested in how WIOA is impacting the schools. What are hearing from your former colleagues relative to Voc Rehab's engagement in the schools for young adults with significant disabilities? Is the implementation of the mandate reaching this very vulnerable population for which it was intended? I know we are all grappling with this..

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Thanks, Debra and Cory!

Sheri Stanger

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Sheri Stanger

Hi Shari,
HKNC Regional Representative can provide WIOA resources to parents. They have connections to VR and will know how each state’s adaptation to WIOA. School districts and VR are working together with transition age young adults who have disabilities including deaf-blind. This collaboration brings together Pre-ETS services mandated by WIOA to offer options to increase job readiness earlier in the transition age young adults while still in high school. If VR is not involved already, parents should call or email the state VR office and request presence. The IEP/Transition team as well as HKNC Regional Representative are able to provide parents with information and guidance.

Cory  Parker

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Cory Parker

I like that Jana! Meeting of the minds and show and tell!

Sheri, the parents (student) have to invite their VR (Transition) Counselor to the IEP meeting.

Debra Pickens

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Debra Pickens

In Arkansas, we have begun an open conversation about our deafblind population with leaders from WIOA. With the assistance of our HKNC rep and the state deafblind project, we were able to meet and have an open conversation. We had to 'back the bus up' and first identify why very few students that are considered deafblind are receiving supports and services. Key issues were discussed related to a lack of identification of deafblindness, eligibility determination, along with lack of expertise in deafblindness to guide appropriate supports in transition and serving the deafblind population. Too often our students with deafblindness have had a primary disability of multiple disabilities, other health impairment, deaf or blind. This has masked the fact that they have dual sensory impairment. So... we are beginning a journey - together! One of our first steps is to bring families together to share their child's strengths. Representatives from VR, Services for the Blind, and other providers will attend whose role will be to listen and learn from the families. WIOA will definitely be a part of the conversation as we then talk about supports. Wish us luck!

Jana Villemez

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Jana Villemez

Cory - I will venture to guess that many school districts (and parents) do not know about WIOA. Where can parents go to learn more about WIOA so they are well versed in the Act to share with the school district as I’m sure many will need to do? And what is the process to get the proper VR agencies involved in the IEP/Transition Plan? How do parents begin? Thanks!

Sheri Stanger

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Sheri Stanger

Cory are you finding that as WIOA roles out young adults with significant disabilities are benefiting from Pre- Employment Transition services ? If so where are you seeing a positive impact ? Any examples that you can think of would be helpful.
Thanks

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 9 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Hi everyone: Yes the implementation of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) is bringing VR to the table earlier with the purpose of engaging with families and schools to spearhead thinking about work and careers. The focus is preparing young adults in high school to start focusing on their futures with exposure to topics about work so they are ready after graduation with a plan. This starts with VR presence in IEP meetings and interaction with families.
HKNC Reps want to be involved with your IEP meetings. This can be done by contacting your local HKNC Regional Rep. HKNC Webpage link:https://www.helenkeller.org/hknc/locations

Cory  Parker

Posted 10 Mo. Ago by Cory Parker

I've got a couple of these students. Thanks Mike and welcome Cory. Michael

Michael Norman

Posted 10 Mo. Ago by Michael Norman

Cory do you see a difference in how Voc Rehab is engaging with families and schools as they implement WIOA ?

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 10 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

Cory do you see a difference in how Voc Rehab is engaging with families and schools as they implement WIOA ?

Mike Fagbemi

Posted 10 Mo. Ago by Mike Fagbemi

When the VR Counselor begins to come to the table with the team, family and student, will the HKNC Reg. Rep also be involved? Is there a protocol to this? What might be the best way to keep all involved for successful connections?

Patti McGowan

Posted 10 Mo. Ago by Patti McGowan

We actually met with my son's VR Counselor when he turned 14 years old and he started attending his IEP meetings. We had great success in getting him into summer camps that helped to prepare him for college and hopefully employment after college. The challenge has been their involvement while in college regarding accommodations and financial support. They need more training on WIOA/Pre-ETS and post-secondary education.

Debra Pickens

Posted 10 Mo. Ago by Debra Pickens

The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) mandates schools provide transition services and coordinate students with disabilities connections to adult services, beginning at the age of 16.  Vocational rehabilitation (VR) is often an important service provider for transition-aged students. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) mandates VR to connect with schools and offer what is called Pre Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities spearheading the opportunity to prepare for employment.  Transition age youth who are deaf-blind can benefit from VR services in transition planning.  Youth, who are deaf-blind, are planning for their futures earlier by exploring their interests, learning about work and job readiness training. 
 
Our focus on this segment is about fostering positive work experiences with VR services.  How does this begin?  Learning about different services can be an overwhelming experience for some.  Connecting with your HKNC regional representative for information and adult services resources, including VR services early and establishing a good relationship with your VR counselor is important. Let’s share experiences on successful connections with VR.  

Cory  Parker

Posted 10 Mo. Ago by Cory Parker

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