The group of 20 to 24 year olds contains an estimated number of 122,531. Of these, 66.9 percent are in the labor force with an estimated 58.4 percent employed. The corresponding unemployment rate is 12.6 percent. In 2014, 97 unemployed within the age range of 19 to 24 exhausted unemployment benefits. In 2015, that number had risen to 227.
The group of 25 to 44 year olds contains 447,092, the largest number among all age groups. Approximately 74.7 percent are in the labor force, with 69.0 percent employed. The unemployment rate for this group is 7.3 percent. In 2014, 931 unemployed within the age range of 25 to 44 exhausted unemployment benefits. That number rose to 1,652 in 2015. (Page 19)
The West Virginia population age 16 and over for whom the poverty status is determined during the 2014 survey is estimated to be 1,464,695, with 343,308 estimated to have a disability and 1,121,387 having no disability. Approximately 16.7 percent of this total civilian non–institutionalized population was below 100 percent of the poverty level. An estimated 24.0 percent of those having a disability are found in this group. Those at 100 to 149 percent of the poverty level registered at 10.2 percent. An estimated 14.6 percent of those with a disability are contained in this group. Persons at or above 150 percent of the poverty level are estimated at 73.1 percent. An estimated 61.4 percent of individuals with a disability are found in this group. In 2014, the number of unemployed with a disability who exhausted their unemployment benefits was 31. This number nearly doubled to 59 in 2015. (Page 20)
- West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services strives to align its activities and services with other agencies, including WIOA partners. Because West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services provides services under an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE), many alignment activities occur on the individual consumer level. West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services’ Client Services Manual Section 2501.3 requires VR counselors to assess and utilize, if appropriate, any third party comparable benefits and services. Furthermore, the Client Services Manual Section 3502.13 allows West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services consumers to request the VR counselor to participate in the arrangement and coordination of services not included in the IPE if those services are available from third party resources without cost to West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services and the VR counselor determines that the services would be appropriate to assist the individual in securing employment. One example of this alignment occurs with West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services consumers that choose to receive four–year and/or community college training; consumers must utilize grants and other non–loan resources prior to West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services providing financial support.
- West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services is mandated not only to coordinate services and resources with comparable services and benefits providers, but also to collect and report these data (any involvement with a comparable services benefits provider in relation to 33 service categories) to the federal Rehabilitation Services Administration at the individual consumer level. The collection, monitoring, and evaluation of these data allow West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services to ensure coordination and alignment is taking place across the state. (Page 73)
Programs like these bring together employers, job seekers, and WIOA partner agencies. By identifying the needs of employers and sharing resources to train individuals, the state as a whole benefits from the West Virginia WDS. Community colleges and technical schools have a unique ability to specialize programs across the state depending on the demands of the local economy, including the needs of employers and job seekers. For example, in 2015, Proctor and Gamble announced a large production facility to be built in West Virginia; the facility will provide up to 700 jobs. From the Governor’s announcement about the project:
“These are good–paying jobs with great benefits,” Governor Tomblin said. “And P&G is a world–class company that’s committed to hiring skilled West Virginia workers. Through a partnership with Blue Ridge Community and Technical College, P&G is working hard to train its new employees and provide them with the skills they need to succeed in today’s jobs and those that will be available well into the future.” (page 78)
In serving veterans, DRS will continue to work closely with the Department of Education and student veteran organizations at colleges, universities, trade schools and other institutions of higher learning to create “veteran friendly” learning environments. The state will continue to support partners in education with focused outreach and coordination with community partners while supporting veterans and their family members to take full advantage of educational benefits that they have earned. This alignment of services will leverage these education and training platforms to focus on job skills that meet the needs of employers within the regions. Education will coordinate with partners to link employers to these educational institutions and programs to ensure that we graduate skilled applicants who have the greatest potential to move successfully into employment. (Page 82)
In addition, those selected to participate in UI Reemployment Services and Eligibility Assessment (RESEA) will receive all of the mandatory program components to include the creation of an Individual Employment Plan (IEP) and additional services such as job search workshops, job search assistance or referrals to other partner programs. The RESEA workshop is designed to motivate and encourage those likely to exhaust benefits by exploring previous work experience, accomplishments and unique skill sets and how to effectively use while job searching. During the workshop individuals identify strengths and skill sets, set short and long term goals, begin developing a job search plan, and effectively network both in person and using social media. (Page 171)
DRS Response to Observation/Recommendation 4: DRS agrees with the importance of quality relationships with higher education institutions in better serving TY with disabilities. Several strategies to improve strategies to TY have been developed and utilized to establish and maintain working relationships with key stakeholders, including institutions of higher education. DRS works with secondary schools and institutions of higher education in many ways to form partnerships and better serve TY with disabilities. In addition to covering all high schools in the state, DRS has liaison counselors assigned to institutions of higher education including colleges, universities, and vocational/technical centers across the state. DRS staff members also attend and present at the annual West Virginia Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators Conference to increase awareness and knowledge of DRS services to higher education staff members statewide. To ensure DRS transition counselors are aware of changes in higher education, a representative from the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission presented at the annual DRS Transition Conference. DRS will continue to explore this recommendation to assess the potential benefits and impact of a committee comprised of DRS staff, SRC members, educators, and other pertinent parties. DRS will also explore additional methods of information dissemination such as the use of its higher education liaisons and email list–servs. (Page 224)
DRS offices are located in some of the state’s largest schools. Additionally, counselors visit every high school in the state to initiate rehabilitation services needed for transition from school to work. This allows the counselor to develop a collaborative relationship and assist the student in identifying goals, services, and service providers related to employment options prior to transition. In FY 2015, DRS re–structured its counselor assignments to increase service availability to students with disabilities. There are now 44 rehabilitation counselors assigned to work with the state’s 55 local education agencies and the West Virginia Schools for the Deaf and Blind. DRS’ school counselors specialize in providing pre–employment transition services (PETS) to students with disabilities. Of these 44 PETS counselors, 43 work solely with high school students and have no other assignments. Expected benefits include increased counselor presence in schools, increased IEP meeting attendance, increased provision of PETS, and an increase in outreach and awareness of VR services to high school students with disabilities. (Page 232)
- Obtain written parental consent; and
- Inform the parent that their refusal to permit the district to access the private insurance does not relieve the district of its responsibility to ensure that all required services are provided at no cost.
Public Insurance Funds: Education may use the Medicaid or other public insurance benefits programs in which a student participates to provide or pay for services required. With regard to services required to provide FAPE to an eligible student under this part, Education may not:
- Require parents to sign up for or enroll in public benefits or insurance programs in order for their child to receive FAPE under IDEA regulations;
- Require parents to incur an out–of–pocket expense, such as the payment of a deductible or co–pay incurred in filing a claim for services provided pursuant to this part, but may pay the cost that the parent otherwise would be required to pay; and
- Use a student’s benefits under a public benefits or insurance program if that use would
- decrease available lifetime coverage or any other insured benefit;
- result in the family paying for services that would otherwise be covered by the public benefits or insurance program and that are required for the child outside of the time the child is in school;
- increase premiums or lead to the discontinuation of benefits or insurance; or
- risk loss of eligibility for home and community–based waivers, based on aggregate health–related expenditures. (Page 239)
If education is unable to obtain parental consent to use the parent’s private insurance, or public benefits or insurance when the parents would incur a cost for a service specified on their child’s IEP, the district may use Part B funds to pay for services to ensure FAPE. To avoid financial cost to parents who otherwise would consent to use private insurance or public benefits or insurance if the parent would incur a cost, the district may use its Part B funds to pay the cost the parents otherwise would have to pay to use the parents’ benefits insurance (e.g., the deductible or co–pay amounts).
Proceeds from public or private insurance will not be treated as program income as pursuant to 34 CFR §80.25(2). If a district spends reimbursements from Federal funds (e.g., Medicaid) for services under this part, those funds will not be considered "State or local" funds for purposes of the maintenance of effort provisions of Part B of IDEA 2004. (Page 240)
DRS counselors will, at the time of application, gather information regarding an individual’s third party resources, including Medicaid. If it is determined that the individual receives Medicaid benefits, BMS will provide all Medicaid–covered services to the individual, regardless of that individual’s continued status with DRS. If an individual is approved to receive services from DRS, and begins to receive Medicaid benefits at a later time, BMS will provide all Medicaid–covered services to the individual from that time forward.
Individuals receiving services from BMS will receive information on the eligibility requirements for DRS and the services DRS provides. If an individual receiving services from BMS expresses a desire to work, he or she will be referred to DRS at that time. Similarly, DRS consumers who are Medicaid–eligible will be referred to BMS.
DRS also maintains an MOU with the Division of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (DIDD), within the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau for Behavioral Health and Health Facilities (BBHHF), the State agency with primary responsibility for providing services and supports for individuals with intellectual disabilities and individuals with developmental disabilities. DRS interacts with both BBHHF and its subsidiary, DIDD. (Page 249)
Another major theme from these comments included improvements in information sharing and awareness. This theme was multi–faceted, weaving through multiple types of information to be shared with various stakeholders, including consumers. Several CRPs/CSPs indicated that DRS counselors lacked awareness about services, while some made a recommendation for information–sharing meetings to serve as a remedy for such a deficiency. Other CRPs/CSPs provided comments indicating a need for more consumer–related awareness including greater consideration of the consumers’ needs when selecting services, more information about the consumers at the time of referral, and educating consumers about the effects that employment can have on their other benefits.
Funding, aside from the funding generated from an increase in referrals, was an additional theme found in the comments of CRPs regarding DRS improvement. These comments regarding funding varied, from requests for grant monies to increases in service fees. (Page 295)
- DETERMINE WHETHER COMPARABLE SERVICES AND BENEFITS ARE AVAILABLE TO THE INDIVIDUAL IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 101(A)(8) OF THE REHABILITATION ACT.
- COMPLY WITH THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEVELOPMENT OF AN INDIVIDUALIZED PLAN FOR EMPLOYMENT IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 102(B) OF THE REHABILITATION ACT.
- COMPLY WITH REQUIREMENTS REGARDING THE PROVISIONS OF INFORMED CHOICE FOR ALL APPLICANTS AND ELIGIBLE INDIVIDUALS IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 102(D) OF THE REHABILITATION ACT.
- PROVIDE VOCATIONAL REHABILITATION SERVICES TO AMERICAN INDIANS WHO ARE INDIVIDUALS WITH DISABILITIES RESIDING IN THE STATE, IN ACCORDANCE WITH SECTION 101(A)(13) OF THE REHABILITATION ACT. (Page 361)
Adherence to the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, which prohibits the exclusion, on the basis of disability, from participation in or denial of the benefits of services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by any public entity.
Certification Regarding Drug-Free Workplace Requirements (29 CFR, Subtitle A, Appendix C to Part 98): WIOA funded grantees certify that it will prove a drug-free workplace by notifying employees that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, or use of a controlled substance is prohibited in the workplace and specifying the actions taken against employees for violation of such prohibition. Grantees certify that it will make a good faith effort to maintain a drug-free workplace through implementation of paragraphs (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), and (f) of 28 CFR Subtitle A, Appendix C to Part 98. (Page 373)