Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor State of California

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california state rehabilitation council annal report 2013

Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor

State of California

Health and Human Services Agency

Office of the Director

721 Capitol Mall

Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 558-5800 Voice

(916) 558-5807 TTY

(916) 558-5806 Fax

Honorable Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor

Janet L. LaBreck, Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner

I am pleased to join the California State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) in presenting its Annual Report to you and other interested parties.
The Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) celebrated its 50th Anniversary, and in those years, California served more than six million people with disabilities and provided them with vocational services, resulting in employment. But most importantly, they gained independence for themselves and their families.
The next 50 years will bring challenges and opportunities for DOR, in looking for improvements within our organization. Our challenges will be met with collaboration and listening from our partners, the SRC.
The DOR staff and SRC members understand the importance of employment, independence, and equality for Californians with disabilities. Our mission is personal and critical to Californians with disabilities.


Anthony “Tony” P. Sauer, EMMDS


Honorable Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor

Janet L. LaBreck, Rehabilitation Services Administration Commissioner

Edmund G. Brown Jr., Governor

State of California

Health and Human Services Agency

State Rehabilitation Council

721 Capitol Mall

Sacramento, CA 95814

(916) 558-5800 Voice

(916) 558-5807 TTY

(916) 558-5806 Fax

I am honored and humbled to be the Chair of the California State Rehabilitation Council (SRC). As a member in the past five years, I have seen the SRC and DOR grow into a true partnership, where the goal is to support the Department’s efforts to better serve our consumers in California.
I am pleased to present you with the Council’s Annual Report for Federal Fiscal Year 2013, which summarizes our collaborative efforts and accomplishments with DOR. Our accomplishments came from our partnership with DOR, which is implementing the SRC recommended priorities of Soft Skills training, Business Partner Forums and a Work Incentive Pilot for Benefits Counseling. All of which will ultimately assist our consumers gain employment and independence.
Members of the SRC share the commitment and passion with DOR staff to serve individuals with disabilities and empowering them through the many services that DOR provides.
As a small business owner for more than 30 years, I have been committed to meeting the Disability Inclusion needs of employers throughout the world, I am keenly aware of the challenges DOR faces. DOR and SRC’s true partnership will only help DOR overcome those challenges.

Milt Wright, Chair

California State Rehabilitation Council

Executive Summary

As the most diverse state in the United States, California has one of the highest numbers of individuals with disabilities in the nation, and the California Department of Rehabilitation (DOR) has the largest Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. During Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2013, DOR achieved 12,251 successful employment outcomes for its consumers, which was an increase from 11,187 in FFY 2012. DOR and the California State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) welcomed this news and continue to strive for more successful employment outcomes in the coming year.

This annual report highlights the activities of both the SRC and DOR. As evidenced in prior FFYs, DOR has embarked on a mission to improve its services for consumers. The DOR continues to implement the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery (VRSD) project and has launched new pilots under the Vendor Utilization Management (VUM) project to improve its internal and external processes for its consumers and vendors.
In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the SRC in collaboration with DOR provides input for new policies or projects, as well as numerous other projects. Examples of some these projects include the State Plan, Consumer Satisfaction Survey, and triennial Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment.
The SRC has an Executive Planning Committee, which consists of the SRC Officers and Chairs of the standing committees. The Executive Planning Committee assists with the planning and direction of the four quarterly SRC meetings. During quarterly meetings, there are two standing Committees where all members are involved –the Planning and Policy Development Committee and the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee. The SRC’s federal mandates are divided between the two Committees, based on whether the focus is on the prospective policies, procedures and projects (the Planning and Policy Development Committee) or retrospective where an evaluation occurs (the Monitoring and Evaluation Committee).

Consumer Caseload

During FFY 2013, DOR:

  • Provided services to 108,366 consumers.

  • Processed 34,569 new applications.

  • In collaboration with the consumer, wrote 24,614 new Individualized Plans for Employment.

  • Achieved 12,251 successful employment outcomes for consumers.

General Consumer Demographics

During FFY 2013:

  • The largest number of DOR consumers (33,472) was between the ages of 20 and 30 years of age.

  • The second largest number of DOR consumers (19,169) was between the ages of 50 and 60 years old.

  • About 56 percent of DOR consumers were male and almost 44 percent were female.

  • By disability category, the greatest number of consumers had psychiatric disabilities (29,450); the second largest category of consumers had physical disabilities (22,392); and the third largest category of consumers had learning disabilities (20,072).

  • DOR provided services to consumers with 16 different primary languages – after English, the largest number of consumers were Spanish speakers (3,531) and the second largest number of consumers used American Sign Language (3,231).

Employment Highlights of DOR Consumers

As displayed in the chart, below, the three largest occupational outcomes for DOR consumers are Service Occupations, Production and Construction, and Clerical and Administrative Support. The chart describes the types of occupations that consumers achieve after they receive DOR services and complete the Individualized Plan for Employment.

Occupation at Closure (Closed-Rehabs.)
Federal Fiscal Year 2012-13

Occupation Category


Service Occupations


Prod, Const, Operating, Maint & Material Handling


Clerical and Administrative Support


Sales and Related Occupations


(Not Completed)


RSA Special Occupations and Miscellaneous


Professional, Paraprofessional and Technical


Agricultural, Forestry, Fishing and Related


Managerial and Administrative


Community and Social Service Occupations


Construction and Extraction Occupations


Computer and Mathematical Occupations


Education, Training, and Library Occupations


Healthcare Support Occupations


Protective Service Occupations


Healthcare Practitioners and Technical Occupations


Production Occupations


Business and Financial Operations Occupations


Grand Total


*Data acquired from October 1, 2013 Extract

Standards and Indicators
The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) requires states to track and report on a series of performance benchmarks, commonly referred to as Standards and Indicators. Within that six-part Indicator, RSA requires each State to pass a minimum of two out of the three primary indicators and four out of the six indicators.


Federal Standards

FFY 2013 California VR Results

1.1 Change in Employment Outcomes

≥ Change from Previous Year


1.2 Percentage of Employment Outcomes



1.3 Competitive Employment Outcomes




1.4 Competitive Employment Outcomes with a Significant Disability




1.5 Ratio of Exit Wage to State Average Pay




1.6 Percentage of Successfully Employment who are self-supporting



Based on preliminary raw data, and subject to validation by RSA, California met the performance requirements by passing two of the three primary Indicators (1.3 and 1.4) and four of the six Indicators (1.1, 1.3, 1.4, and 1.6). These Indicators are used by DOR and RSA to determine program performance.

Highlights in 2013

2013-2018 DOR Strategic Plan

Adopted in 2013, through a collaborative process with stakeholders, DOR developed their 2013-2018 Strategic Plan, detailing efforts to modernize its services and continue advocacy for independence, access and community living. The 2013-2018 Strategic Plan provides a roadmap for DOR to achieve its goals to provide improved services to individuals with disabilities and vision of employment, independence and equality for all Californians with disabilities.

Vocational Rehabilitation Modernization (VR Mod)

Continuing the statewide efforts for system improvements, the Vocational Rehabilitation Modernization (VR Mod) Project is designed to improve the quality of the program and increase the effectiveness and efficiency of services for consumers. The VR Mod project includes three Department-wide initiatives: Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery (VRSD), Vendor Utilization Management (VUM), and Accessible Web-based Activity Reporting Environment (AWARE) system.

Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery (VRSD)

DOR continues to implement the consumer-centric team approach to the delivery of services to consumers. During the FFY, DOR began roll out of the team approach within the District Offices, and provided training and guidance to make teams successful.

As of October 31, 2013, six of the 14 Districts had fully implemented the new VRSD model or about 88 percent of teams were formed.
During FFY 2013, DOR provided training to 215 VRSD team members participated in the Field Training Series, which included relevant curriculum from the New Counselor Academy, Soft Skills trainings and the Office Technician-General Mentoring Guide. In September 2013, a two-day training was provided to 54 Team Managers and Rehabilitation Supervisors representing 13 districts covering a variety of operations, personnel, labor relations, reasonable accommodation and other supervisory issues.
In August 2013, there was a two-day event that brought all District Operations Support staff to Sacramento to receive training on key accounting, procurement and personnel tasks performed by these teams in the Districts.

Vendor Utilization Management (VUM)

In early 2012, DOR began discussions regarding vendors concerns with DOR's defined employment services and associated rate structure, as well as with DOR's internal processes for authorization and timely payments. In August 2012, DOR conducted listening sessions to better understand vendor concerns, and in response, DOR initiated project planning activities. The Vendor Utilization Management (VUM) project was formally chartered in May, 2013 with DOR Directorate support and approval to improve the 1) authorization, invoicing, and payments processes; and 2) quality, timeliness, and accountability of VR services. A Placement Plus Proof of Concept was added with the goal of increasing employment outcomes and Social Security Income (SSI)/Social Security Disability Income (SSDI) reimbursements. And, a Work Incentives Planning (WIP) Pilot was added to evaluate the effectiveness of work incentive planning to consumers receiving SSI/SSDI, with a focus on those who are job ready. As part of the WIP Pilot, DOR hired nine Work Incentive Planners in the Greater East Bay District, San Diego, and Northern Sierra Districts. The planners are currently completing intensive training and credentialing through Cornell University’s benefits on-line certification program.

Accessible Web-based Activity Reporting Environment (AWARE) System

During the FFY, DOR successfully implemented two new releases of the AWARE system and initiated enhancements to fully integrate the existing financial systems into AWARE. DOR reviewed, tested, and implemented new versions of AWARE to within the expected release schedule. Training was conducted in advance of each new release to allow for timely introduction of new features.

In FFY 2013, the DOR conducted extensive planning sessions, to identify the requirements needed for financial and case service interfaces in order to plan for full decommissioning of the Field Computer System. Beginning in 2014, major revisions of the financial and case service interfaces from Alliance Enterprises will be reviewed, tested and presented to appropriate field staff.

Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) Grant

The DOR was awarded the Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) grant of $50 million in total ($10 million per year for five years) on October 1, 2013. The PROMISE grant will fund enhanced services to 3,078 participants, between the ages of 14 and 16 that are on supplemental security income. The PROMISE grant is a joint venture led by DOR in collaboration with five other state Departments, San Diego State University, and 21 local education agencies.

Client Assistance Program (CAP) Redesignation

The Governor proposed the redesignation of Client Assistance Program (CAP) from DOR to Disability Rights California in July 2013. On July 23, 2013, the administration held a public hearing and opened a 30-day public comment period. Beginning on October 1, 2013, The Governor redesignated CAP to Disability Rights California, the designated protection and advocacy program in California.

Collaboration between DOR and SRC

In partnership with the SRC, DOR works in unison with the SRC to develop the annual State Plan, Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA), and Consumer Satisfaction Survey (CSS). The CSNA is conducted annually over a three year period, which determines the vocational service needs of Californians with disabilities. The CSS is conducted jointly by the SRC and DOR, to evaluate the consumers’ satisfaction of the services provided by DOR and the vendors. The State Plan describes key components and processes of the Rehabilitation Act which will be implemented and administered and, ultimately, how individuals with disabilities will be provided services leading to employment. The results from the CSNA and the CSS are valuable evaluative tools in assessing DOR’s programs and services and serve as building blocks for the annual State Plan.

The SRC provides ongoing input to the State Plan, CSS, and CSNA through its recommendations to the Goals and Priorities established in the State Plan by the Department. The recommendations result from a collaboration between DOR staff and SRC at the quarterly meetings through sessions and committee meetings. In April 2013, the SRC and DOR held public meetings jointly on the State Plan throughout California.

State Plan

The SRC recommended that DOR adopt the following three revised 2014 State Plan Goals, as presented to the SRC on March 25, 2013.

Goal 1: Increase the quality and quantity of Vocational Rehabilitation and Supported Employment (SE) employment outcomes for DOR consumers, including unserved and underserved individuals with disabilities.

Goal 2: Advance accessibility and equality to improve opportunities for individuals with disabilities to achieve their employment goals and independence.

Goal 3: Continuously improve the service delivery system and administrative operations to better serve consumers.

On November 16, 2012, the SRC recommended the three following priorities:

  • The SRC recommended that quarterly Business Partner Forums be created and the resulting input be included in the development of future State Plans. DOR has held two Business Partner Forums and feedback from the Business Partner Forums was included in the CSNA. This recommendation will help DOR develop better business relationships, create better outreach to businesses and improve the employment outcomes of California’s consumers.

  • The SRC recommended that DOR offer benefits counseling information for all consumers. As stated in the 2014 State Plan, DOR has focused their work on consumers receiving SSI/SSDI benefits and has created the WIP Pilot. The goal of benefits counseling is to assist consumers in maximizing their earning potential and gaining their independence.

  • The SRC also recommended that DOR implement soft skills training for all consumers. DOR has piloted Soft Skills Training in four districts and expects statewide implementation to continue into FFY 2014. Soft Skills training will assist consumers in becoming job ready and assist them with skills needed in the workforce.

On May 23, 2013, the SRC requested that DOR review and report to the SRC a comparison of the number and median wages of successful DOR case closures by occupational group compared to California’s general population. DOR agreed to work with the SRC to identify and provide available data to SRC as a way to evaluate the quality of VR and SE employment outcomes.

In the last quarter of the FFY 2013, the SRC has been working on its priorities for the 2015 State Plan. This ongoing partnership will continue into the coming year.

Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA)

As required by federal regulations (34 CFR 361.29), the SRC and DOR worked collaboratively to review the surveys and preliminary results in the final year of triennial cycle. The preliminary results assist the SRC in determining any programmatic needs of vocational services for various populations. The end of one triennial cycle allows for SRC and DOR to review methodology and strengthen the CSNA for the next triennial.

The targeted populations were previously identified as underserved and included, African Americans with disabilities, American Indians with disabilities, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders with disabilities, Hispanic/Latinos with disabilities, individuals with traumatic brain injuries and individuals with autism spectrum disorders. The CSNA also surveyed America’s Job Centers of California and Community Rehabilitation Programs. In FFY 2013, employer feedback was used from the Business Partner Forums instead of a separate survey to employers.

Highlights of the Preliminary CSNA Results

  • Benefit planning was cited as a need for Hispanic/Latinos with disabilities, Asian and Pacific Islanders with disabilities, American Indians with disabilities and African Americans with disabilities.

  • Continued outreach, through advertising in different media outlets or collaboration with various community partnerships, was also cited as a need to the above communities.

  • More job placements that match the skills of Individuals with Traumatic Brain Injuries and Individuals with Autism Spectrum Disorder were cited in the CSNA.

  • Community Rehabilitation Programs cited the need for expanded job development/placement activities, more employment preparation for consumers in supported employment and soft skills training.

  • America’s Job Centers of California stated that cross-training between DOR and the Centers on regulations, policies and procedures would better serve consumers.

Consumer Satisfaction Survey (CSS)

Beginning in 2013, the CSS survey instrument was changed from four surveys to one survey, measuring consumer satisfaction of DOR’s services. Improvements to the survey allow DOR to distinguish the consumer’s disability, through a self-identification question on the survey, and specific questions geared towards those that achieved an employment outcome and those that did not.

On November 16, 2012, the SRC recommended some specific survey questions, which addressed the satisfaction received from the vocational rehabilitation team model, the information of disability benefits counseling information or referrals received from DOR, the disability type, and whether the consumer would recommend DOR to a friend or family member. DOR included survey questions requested, added the disability type and improved the survey design for those with visual impairments. Other recommendations dealt with the design of the instrument for those with visual impairments and the dissemination of the survey in different modalities (electronic, paper and website).
To increase the response rate and ensure the survey is accessible and widely disseminated, the SRC recommended that the CSS be distributed at community rehabilitation program sites and rural areas and distributed through the DOR’s District Offices. DOR increased the number of surveys distributed by 24 percent, however, due to time and resource constraints, DOR was unable to fully implement the distribution additions requested by the SRC or promote the CSS through DOR’s District Offices. Currently, DOR is working on strategies to better market the survey and also make the survey available year round to increase the response rate. DOR estimates that these changes will be in effect for the 2015 survey.

Highlights from the 2013 Consumer Satisfaction Survey

Department Satisfaction

  • 71% of respondents expressed overall satisfaction with the services provided directly by DOR, which is a 3.6% decrease from prior year.

  • 90% of respondents reported they understand the reason for DOR services was to help them become employed.

  • 83% of respondents reported they were treated with courtesy and respect from the counselor and DOR team.

  • 75% responded that they would recommend DOR services to other persons with disabilities who want to become employed.

  • 61% responded that their quality of life has improved because of DOR services.

Satisfaction with Services from External Service Providers

  • 69% responded they were satisfied with the quality of service from their service providers.

  • 65% responded they were satisfied with the timeliness of services from their service providers.

Provision of Benefits Counseling

  • 55% responded that they received benefits counseling from DOR and/or their service provider(s).

Satisfaction with Counseling Services Provided

  • 72% were satisfied with the prompt response to questions and requests by the counselor and/or DOR team.

  • 66% were satisfied with the level of vocational guidance and quality of counseling received.

For Consumers Who Were Employed

  • 36% reported that the services provided by DOR were instrumental in their becoming employed.

  • 34% reported they were satisfied with their job.

  • 20% reported they were dissatisfied with health benefits from their job.

  • 17% were dissatisfied that their job was not consistent with their employment plan.

For Consumers Who Were Not Employed

  • 23% reported they need additional help to find a job.

  • 17% reported that DOR did not help them find a job.

  • 15% reported they are not ready to start working.

  • 13% reported there was no job available that was consistent with the DOR employment plan.

  • 5% reported that they did not want to give up SSI/SSDI benefits.

During the November 2013 quarterly meeting, the SRC recommended that the results of the 2013 CSS be shared with field staff to discuss results and make improvements with management on how to better serve consumers in their districts. The SRC continues to supports DOR’s efforts in improving the response rate and the methodology of the CSS by instituting prior recommendations.

Other State Rehabilitation Council Responsibilities

Adopt a District Program

During the August 2013 quarterly meeting, the SRC adopted guidelines for visiting with District Administrators. At each quarterly meeting, SRC members are assigned a district and District Administrator to communicate with. The purpose of this program is to help members understand the challenges field staff face.

The interaction informs the SRC of any trends or issues with DOR’s services that may be addressed by the Council.

Appeals Hearing Decisions

In accordance with the federal mandate, SRC reviewed the appeals hearing decisions. DOR had 98 requests for an impartial hearing during the FFY 2013. Of those requests, there were 25 fair hearings. The majority of the hearings were due to disagreements between the consumer and the Department regarding case closures and the Individualized Plans for Employment. The SRC reviews the appeals hearing decisions for new or ongoing trends that may need to be addressed.

State Independent Living Council Collaboration

The SRC and State Independent Living Council Collaboration (SILC)

Chairpersons and staff held a joint meeting of both councils on February 27, 2013, which assisted with a better understanding of the issues that both Councils are involved in. Staff from the SRC and SILC meet and communicate on a regular basis, which continues the dialogue between the Councils.

The Members of California’s State Rehabilitation Council

Milt Wright, Chair – representing Business and Industry

David DeLeonardis, Vice-Chair — representing Community Rehabilitation Program service providers

LeNae Liebetrau, Treasurer – representing qualified Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (Non-Voting member)

Danielle Anderson, Planning and Policy Development Committee Chair—representing the former applicant or consumer of vocational rehabilitation services

Andrew Mudryk, Monitoring and Evaluation Committee Chair—representing the Client Assistance Program

Deanna Graziano – representing Disability Advocacy Group

Jill Larson— representing Department of Education

Dr. Robert Metts—representing Business, industry and labor

Trilby Kerrigan—representing the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation programs

Non-Voting Members

Anthony "Tony" P. Sauer – DOR Director

Update on Membership Vacancies

In 2013, two appointments and one reappointment were made. On May 2, 2013, Dr. Robert Metts was appointed to the Council as a representative of the business, industry and labor category. On September 27, 2013, Trilby Kerrigan, a representative of the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation programs was appointed to the Council, and David DeLeornardis, a representative of Community Rehabilitation Program service providers, was reappointed to the Council.

Consumer Success Stories

Sharif Parvanta was without income and staying with cousins when he applied for services with the Department of Rehabilitation in August 2011. At 33, he had some restaurant and entry-level office experience, taking college classes as finances permitted. The DOR vocational psychologist diagnosed him with Attention Deficit Disorder and other learning disorders.
Sharif found a job at Papa John’s Pizza where his enthusiasm instantly impressed the manager. He was offered a promotion but was not sure it was the right fit. His counselor suggested he try a culinary arts program to gauge his interest in cooking; he was hooked. Though it was difficult for him without any income for 24 weeks, he successfully completed the program.
Struggling to find work in California, he decided to relocate to Indianapolis and live with family. In July 2012, he was hired by Gate Gourmet preparing meals for first class airline passengers. A few weeks later, he was cooking for the NFL and the NBA flights.
Sharif caught the attention of Gate Gourmet’s CEO after performing CPR on a fellow employee in the break room, saving her life. In January 2013, he contacted DOR to announce he would be the Executive Chef for the 49ers Super Bowl airline charter.

Colleen Collins has been in the business of caring for people throughout her career. She worked in the Pediatric Intensive Care at Kaiser for 14 years; she loved the work, and became adept at both assessing and providing medical care for her patients.
Colleen started having trouble with her vision; she began knocking things over, experiencing night blindness and was subsequently diagnosed with Retinitis Pigmentosa. After working at a plastic surgeon’s office briefly, she decided to stop working directly with patients because of her decreasing vision Colleen’s career path took a turn when she became a successful mortgage broker. As the real estate market went from boom to bust, Colleen’s vision got dramatically worse. This made the driving and sales work required for the job difficult. A friend told her about Department of Rehabilitation; she signed up for services through DOR and went back to school.

In 2012 Colleen got her degree as a Nurse Administrator. The eight-year gap since medical related employment made it hard for her to compete against other nurses, but her perseverance paid off. She was hired as an Intake and Scheduling Manager for the home health agency American Care Quest in San Francisco where she is now working full time again and couldn’t be happier.

Acronyms and Abbreviations used in this Report

2013 Unless otherwise noted, references to Federal Fiscal Year 2013 (October 1, 2012 - September 30, 2013)

Act The Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended in 1998

AWARE Accessible Web-based Activity Reporting Environment System

BEP Business Enterprise Program

CAP Client Assistance Program

CFR Code of Federal Regulations

CSNA Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment

CSS Consumer Satisfaction Survey

DOR Department of Rehabilitation

FFY Federal Fiscal Year

IPE Individualized Plan for Employment

PROMISE Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) grant

RSA Rehabilitation Services Administration

SE Supported Employment

SGA Substantial Gainful Activity

SILC State Independent Living Council

SRC State Rehabilitation Council

SSI Social Security Income

SSDI Social Security Disability Income

VR Vocational Rehabilitation

VRSD Vocational Rehabilitation Service Delivery

VUM Vendor Utilization Management

WIP Work Incentive Planning Pilot

Consistent with Section 105(c)(5) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended), the SRC prepares and submits an annual report to the Governor of California and Commissioner of the RSA on the status of vocational rehabilitation programs operated within California. This document fulfills that mandate and is available to the public in a variety of formats. For additional information, please visit the SRC's webpage at: http://www.dor.ca.gov/SRC/index.html

The SRC welcomes visitors. SRC meetings are open to the public and include time on the agenda for public comment. For additional information, please contact the State Rehabilitation Council at src@dor.ca.gov or (916) 558-5868.

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