In accordance with the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the DOR received $61.8 million in federal stimulus funds for its programs. This included $56.5 million for VR, $1.6 million for independent living (IL), and $3.7 million for older blind programs (OIB).
The VR ARRA funds constituted a large one-time infusion of VR state grant funding that offered the opportunity to make short-term program improvements to provide long-term benefits.
Project planning for the ARRA funding started in Feb. 2009, included expenditures through four (4) fiscal years, and supported projects completed through FFY 2011. In 2009 the DOR started with 25 core ARRA projects which grew to more than 50 projects by June 2011.
ARRA Project Highlights:
Over $3 million to Create and Retain Jobs
At the height of ARRA the DOR averaged 250 Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) created or retained jobs throughout the state. This includes: Retired Annuitants, Student Assistants, Senior Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors (SVRC), graduate student interns, and limited term appointment SVRC-QRPs within the DOR. Also included were DOR Cooperative Partners, Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRP), Independent Living Centers and Older Blind Programs that had ARRA funded staff.
Over $30 million for Enhanced and Expanded Consumer Services
Community Rehabilitation Programs and Public Partner Agencies
Over $20 million was awarded to CRPs and Cooperative Partner agencies to make program improvements and to provide enhanced and expanded services to consumers. The DOR entered into over 160 ARRA cooperative contracts and 36 ARRA CRP contracts.
This new web enabled Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) database is designed to track and report statewide CRP provider information and performance data, allowing consumers and stakeholders to rate CRPs and view consumer reviews in order to facilitate informed choice. This new directory will increase the effectiveness and efficiency of vocational rehabilitation service delivery by tracking certification, monitoring performance, and providing a mechanism for consumers to exercise informed choice and record input on services provided. The estimated completion date is January 2012.
On the Job Training and Self Employment
Approximately 1500 On-the-Job Training contracts with California employers statewide were developed. To date there have been 330 successful employment outcomes and over 30 small business opportunities have been created for Californians with disabilities.
Mobile Counselors Pilot Program (MCPP)
40 DOR Counselors participated as Mobile Counselors to assist in the expansion of employment services to unserved and underserved populations.
VR services were opened for 700 in 2009 and 2011 to consumers on the Category III waiting list. To date there have been 29 successful employment outcomes.
Almost $15 million for Program Improvements for Blind and Visually Impaired
Business Enterprise Program
Ten (10) new BEP sites have been completed including Buttonwillow Roadside Rest, Atascadero Hospital, Camp Roberts Roadside Rest, LAX TSA Break Room, Boron Roadside Rest, CDSS Café 744, Hunter Hill Roadside Rest, Shandon Roadside Rest, San Ysidro/Otay Mesa border stations, and Salinas/Soledad State Prison. These are new employment opportunities for consumers who are blind and visually impaired as well as employees they will hire.
This Project resulted in improved training facilities, creation of a multi use conferencing center, dormitory improvements including the addition of a studio apartment for independent living, accessibility improvements, seismic upgrades and installation of an elevator to enable access to the second floor of the dorm.
Over $8 million for Program Improvements and Capacity Building
Bandwidth Improvement Project (BIP)
The final phase to upgrade the DOR to Microsoft Office 2007 was completed in May 2011. This project included the installation of fiber optic cables and consolidated IT hardware which has increased bandwidth capacity, improved network access and may result in cost savings by reducing power consumption.
The Virtualization Project was completed in May 2011 reducing the number of physical servers at the DOR from 77 to 59. Server virtualization provides the opportunity to maximize the hardware utilization and reduce power consumption, climate conditioning, and hardware maintenance.
The Video Conferencing Project was completed in June 2011 with the installation of 14 conferencing endpoints, including Central Office and 13 other district locations throughout the State of California.
Mobility Evaluation Program (MEP) Van Upgrade
MEP completed the upgrade and repairs of the 2001 Ford E150 Full Size van to enable consumers to evaluate feasibility of an alternate steering wheel on a mechanical horizontal steering device.
Over $2 million for Staff Training
Over 950 DOR staff participated in multiple Microsoft 2007 software training courses.
545 DOR employees participated in the Upward Mobility project which enabled them to take classes to help improve their skills within their current position and to provide opportunities to advance.
Over 200 employees participated in the Windmills Training Program, which addresses misconceptions about employees with disabilities with employers to reduce barriers to employment resulting from these misconceptions.
40 SVRCs/Rehabilitation Supervisors enrolled in Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accredited Master’s Degree programs, three of whom have already graduated.
Over 465 participants have benefitted from 18 ARRA-funded DOR staff training opportunities on the following topics:
Autism Spectrum Disorder (9 trainings);
Diversity in the Workplace (5 trainings);
Diffusing Difficult Situations (3 trainings); and
Information Mapping training (1 training)
In partnership with California State University (CSU) Sacramento, the DOR hired more than 72 paid rehabilitation counselor interns in the DOR field offices throughout California to provide direct services to consumers.
28 participants atttended Support Services Assistant Interpreter (SSAI) Skills Training.
40 District Administrator/Rehabilitation Supervisors participated in Deaf Awareness Training.
SRC in 2011
About the State Rehabilitation Council
The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998 (the Act), requires that consumers, advocates and other representatives of individuals with disabilities be integral to the administration and oversight of a state's vocational rehabilitation services. In California, this mandate is fulfilled by the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC), established in accordance with Section 105 of the Act. The Governor-appointed SRC consists of a diverse membership interested in, and representative of, Californians with disabilities. It is the mission of the California SRC, in partnership with the DOR, to assure that all Californians with disabilities are represented, informed, and empowered; receive necessary, sufficient and timely individualized services; and that these services are excellent and lead to meaningful employment.
It is the role of the SRC to review, evaluate and advise the DOR regarding its specific and overall performance and effectiveness. This role is carried out to ensure the highest level of service delivery, employment outcomes, and consumer satisfaction possible. In partnership with the DOR, SRC develops, agrees to, and reviews State Plan goals and priorities, and evaluates the effectiveness of VR services provided under the Act. SRC also advises and assists the DOR in the preparation of the plans, reports, needs assessments, and evaluations required by the Act.
State Rehabilitation Council Members
The SRC ended FFY 2011 with three vacancies in the mandated representation. One vacancy resulted from a member's resignation, while the other two vacancies were the result of terms that expired on September 7, 2011. Recruitment for the vacancies is in progress. There were no new appointments during FFY 2011.
The following individuals served during FFY 2011, representing the categories mandated under 29 United State Code (USC) Section 725(b). The appointment dates listed are for the member's current term.
One representative of the Statewide Independent Living Council established under Section 705 of the Rehabilitation Act (the Act)
Teddie-Joy Remhild, Burbank: Appointed September 23, 2010
One representative of a Parent Training and Information Center established pursuant to section 671 of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA)
Jane Floethe-Ford, San Jose: Appointed December 17, 2009
One representative of the Client Assistance Program (CAP) established under section 112 of the Act
Steve Klemin, Seal Beach: Appointed December 17, 2009
One qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (as DOR staff, this representative serves in an ex-officio, non-voting capacity)
LeNae Liebetrau, Santa Cruz: Appointed December 17, 2009
One representative of Community Rehabilitation Program (CRPs) service providers
David DeLeonardis, Sacramento: Appointed September 23, 2010
Nanci Linke-Ellis, Santa Monica: Appointed September 23, 2010
Urban Miyares, San Diego: Appointed September 27, 2010
Stephanie Murphy, La Mesa: Appointed December 17, 2009 (Treasurer)
Milt Wright, Northridge: Appointed January 26, 2010 (Vice-Chair)
Two representatives of disability advocacy groups representing individuals with physical, cognitive, sensory and mental disabilities and representatives of individuals who have difficulty representing themselves due to their disabilities
Robert Hand, Coarsegold: Appointed September 23, 2010 (Chair)
Vacancy - formerly Giang Nguyen, Clovis, who resigned on November 1, 2010
Current or former vocational rehabilitation services applicants or recipients
Vacancy - formerly Brian Connors, Sacramento, whose term expired on September 7, 2011
One representative of the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Projects carried out under Section 121 of the Act
Vaughn Pena Sr., Ukiah: Appointed December 17, 2009
Vacancy - formerly Jill Larson, Loomis, whose term expired on September 7, 2011
One representative of the State Workforce Investment Board
Ken Quesada, Sacramento: Appointed September 27, 2010
Anthony "Tony" Sauer, Grass Valley
State Rehabilitation Council Structure
The SRC is led by the Executive Planning Committee (EPC), which consists of the SRC Officers and Chairs of the standing committees. All SRC members serve on one of two standing Committees – Planning and Policy Development (PPD) or Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). The SRC’s federal mandates are divided between the two committees based on whether they are prospective (planning) or retrospective (evaluation). Since the majority of the SRC’s mandated functions are cyclical in nature and move from planning to evaluation and back again, this approach allows all SRC members an active involvement in fulfilling its mandated responsibilities.
The SRC/DOR Partnership