~~The initiative’s full array of workforce partners must align their efforts and take active roles in ensuring resources are used in ways that maximize, strengthen, and support the education to workforce pipeline for all Oklahomans.
According to a 2018 Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats (SWOT) analysis conducted with WIOA Core Partners, accomplishments since 2016, include but are not limited to:
• Further development of the Oklahoma Works Strategic Plan with additional strategies to strengthen broadband access, and facilitate entrepreneurship.
• Creation and distribution of a transportation asset map to identify gaps and duplication impacting access to school and work.
• Development of “Oklahoma Works for All,” a pilot project across WIOA Core Partners and private partners for customized employment supports for businesses and potential employees with intellectual and developmental disabilities to be tested in the South Central Workforce Development Area.
• Development of “My Reemployment Plan,” a project across WIOA Core Partners to align case-management with readiness and transition services
• Joint WIOA policy development and release to reflect WIOA administration change and WIA to WIOA transition, including: local and regional planning guidance and approval, competitive procurement of one-stop operators, and Oklahoma Works (One-Stop) Center certification of American Job Centers, among others. (Page 34) Title I
DSA has contracts with private non-profit, for-profit, and government Community Rehabilitation Service Providers (CRPs) of Supported Employment and other employment programs for individuals with significant barriers to employment. CRPs request the opportunity to provide Supported Employment, employment and retention (i.e. short term job coaching), job placement, JOBS (short-term placement), work-adjustment training, employment support and transitional employment services for DSA job seekers. DSA approves contracts based on pre-established criteria, including acceptable levels of payment for outcomes achieved.
DSA will continue to increase employment CRPs to meet the needs statewide focusing in rural areas, by initiating a customized employment contract within designated areas across the state. The Employment Support Services Unit (ESS) educates potential CRPs and DSA field staff of available contracts. The list of contracts and CRPs is available on the DSA intranet. (Page 255-256) Title IV
The Oklahoma Health Care Authority (OHCA) serves as the Medicaid Agency for provisions of title XIX of the Social Security Act. The OHCA and Department of Human Services (DHS) maintain an MOA for provision of services. The DHS administers waiver programs which include extended services as a part of the waiver. Each Medicaid waiver individual plan includes outcomes which would create a pathway to achieve competitive integrated employment. DRS has implemented a new customized employment contract which can be utilized by individuals to achieve employment. Increased education and in-service with contractors has occurred to encourage contracts with both the DSA and DDS to ensure a more streamlined access to competitive integrated employment opportunities. The DHS and DSA utilizes an MOA to outline the provisions and responsibilities for extended services utilized in Medicaid funded programs. (Pages 259- 260) Title IV
Research determined that there are not minority groups disproportionately underserved in Oklahoma, but the DSA with the SRC held focus groups to obtain further qualitative information. Based on the last assessment, research was focused on rural counties that were identified as being underserved. Despite active DSA programs to serve SSI/SSDI recipients, focus group attendees reported there is a family disconnect and fear regarding the loss of benefits. This fear results in the parents of youth with disabilities being resistant to services that are employment oriented.
Those in need of supported or customized employment in some rural areas of the state also face a lack of CRP vendors in remote areas, including southeastern Oklahoma. Needs were identified for more employer outreach to address accessibility issues with employer application methods, additional cooperation between schools and DSA counselors in the setting of appropriate career goals for youth with disabilities and making sure IPE and IEP goals are in-line prior to graduation.
In rural areas, there is a gap in service when serving the homeless populations and those that lack transportation. This is a result of missing auxiliary services that are available through other agencies and/or programs in Oklahoma City and Tulsa. In addition, transportation is a service gap that affects individuals with disabilities not just in rural areas, but across the state. (Page 272) Title IV
DSA will provide outreach to increase the number of Rural Employment CRPs in order to increase services and better meet the employment needs of individuals with disabilities in the rural areas of the state.
In an effort to increase services, DSA is initiating a customized employment program. The DSA is developing an expansion plan to fund the additional services required under the Work Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). (Page 281) Title IV
Customized Employment Services Project
Memorandum of Understanding: The DSA entered into a contracted agreement with 24 vendors, known as the Contractor.
Scope of Work: This is a project to provide Customized Employment Services and/or other employment services to individuals in Priority Group 1 with the most significant disabilities. Some of the other employment services are available to individuals in Priority Group 2 with significant disabilities. This contract is intended to meet the requirements of WIOA. Career Exploration and Internship services are optional and can be used with individuals in Priority Group 1 or 2, receiving CE, SE or ER contract services. Onsite Supports and Training and Extended Services for Transition (EST) can be used with individuals in Priority Group 1 only, receiving CE or SE contract services. The DSA Counselor, working with the individual and the Contractor, will designate the services to be used. The Discovery and Profile and Career Exploration services only, can be used with transition aged youth, age 16 or above, on a Trial Work Plan or Individualized Plan of Employment, to gather assessment information related to employment, and to help identify additional employment related transition services and/or a career path. (Page 281) Title IV
Partner Responsibilities: The Contractor will:
1. The Contractor has completed discovery activities that utilize a person centered approach to describe “who the individual is”. and guides the planning process to develop a customized job. The Contractor will summarize the Discovery findings on the individual’s profile. The Contractor has provided benefits planning information to any individual who is receiving Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits, and has referred the individual to a DSA Benefits Planning Specialist if the individual, payee, or family member has requested the service.
2.The Contractor will provide opportunities for the individual to explore potential occupations, job conditions, interests and job tasks in order to enhance their vocational goal and prepare the individual for a successful job match. Exploration activities could include but are not limited to: job shadowing, work-site tour, job sampling, trial work experiences, volunteer experiences and situational assessments.
3.The Contractor will schedule and conduct a Team Meeting with the individual, DRS Counselor and all other relevant team members to create a CE Employer Development Plan.
4.The Contractor has created the Visual Résumé with the individual. This résumé was used in the job development process to highlight the individual’s potential contributions and the types of tasks the individual is interested and capable of performing. The Contractor has explained Customized Employment and outlined what the employer can expect from the individual and the Contractor during the job development process. The Contractor has developed a successful job match that meets the individual’s contributions, conditions and interests and the employer’s unmet needs. A job can be developed within an individual’s family’s business as long as the job meets the definition of competitive integrated employment. (Page 282) Title IV
5. The individual has worked successfully for a minimum of eight (8) weeks beginning with the first (1st) day of employment and has received all appropriate onsite supports and training. At the completion of this service, individuals can be moved to CE Maintenance if they meet the following criteria: individual is working at least sixty percent (60%) of their weekly work goal as identified on their IPE, and on-site support needs cannot be more than twenty-five percent (25%) of their total work hours per month.
6. The individual has worked successfully for a minimum four of (4) and a maximum of eight (8) additional weeks beyond the CE Job Coaching I and has received all appropriate onsite supports and training. The Contractor can move the individual to CE Maintenance after the maintenance criteria is met. To move to CE Maintenance, the individual must be working at sixty percent (60%) of their weekly work goal as identified on their IPE, and their on-site support needs cannot be more than twenty-five percent (25%) of their total work hours per month. If the maintenance criteria is not met at the end of six (6) weeks, then a team meeting is required to determine if the individual needs to be moved to Onsite Supports and Training at the completion of CE Job Coaching II. (Page 282) Title II
8. The individual can be moved to CE Maintenance at the end of any four (4) week increment if they meet the maintenance criteria. The maintenance criteria specifies the individual must be working at sixty (60%) of their weekly work goal as identified on their IPE, and on-site support needs cannot be more than twenty-five (25%) of their total work hours per month.
9. If the individual remains in this service at the end of the initial three and a half (3½) months and has not been moved to CE Maintenance, a team meeting is required. Additional Onsite Supports and Training can be authorized and provided if the team determines it is needed to assist the individual with meeting the maintenance criteria.
10. The individual has worked successfully for at least four (4) weeks, and received all appropriate onsite supports and training. To achieve maintenance, the individual must work at least one entire work week without EC support, must work at their weekly work goal as identified on their IPE for the four (4) weeks of maintenance, their onsite/offsite support and training needs must be less than or equal to twenty percent (20%) of their total work hours per month, the employer is satisfied with the individual’s job performance, and the individual is satisfied with their job. At the completion of CE Maintenance, if the individual has met all of the requirements, they can be moved to the CE Employment Outcome Service. (Page 283) Title IV
Referral Process: At the time of referral, the DSA Counselor will provide the Contractor with a copy of the Eligibility Determination Form, Individualized Plan of Employment (IPE) or Trial Work Plan, and Personal Information Form. Once the intake is scheduled, the Contractor will send a CE Authorization Request Form to the DSA Counselor, Rehabilitation Technician and Program Manager. The DSA Counselor authorizes for the first two services to be used (i.e. CE Discovery and Profile and Career Exploration, etc.) within five (5) business days.
The Contractor should contact the DSA Counselor and ask for the authorization to be sent if not received within five (5) business days. The Contractor will only provide services that have been pre-authorized by the DSA Counselor. The only services that can be provided under a trial work plan include the CE Discovery and Profile service and the Career Exploration service. (Page 284) Title IV
The DSA conducted an Employment Support Services 360 analysis resulting in the need for supported or customized employment in some rural areas of the state, also a lack of CRP vendors in remote areas, including southeastern Oklahoma. (Page 290) Title IV
Online Introduction to Positive Behavior Supports in the Workplace (prerequisite for positive behavior supports and instructional supports); Positive Behavior in the Workplace, customized employment and instructional supports. Following completion of the required training listed above, six hours of continuing education is required each year. The DSA staff also provides quarterly training and two additional advanced trainings annually to CRPs to keep them up-to-date on current best practices.
DSA monitors contract compliance, provides an outcomes based report on data drawn from the AWARE case management program. DSA reports to CRPs on minimum contract standards and whether those standards have been met or will require a plan for improvement. Every CRP has a TA who helps resolve service delivery problems and monitors for contract compliance on an annual basis. (Page 306) Title IV