Monday, May 8, 2017

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act Unified State Plan public comment follow up

The Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) wishes to thank stakeholders and members of the public for submitting comment and feedback on the amendment to the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) portion of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Unified State Plan, which pertains to BRS’s request to the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) to enter into an order of selection. BRS has reviewed and considered the public comments received. BRS does not anticipate any substantial revisions to the amended section of the State Plan and will move forward with submitting the amendment to RSA. The order of selection will be implemented upon approval of the State Plan amendment by RSA. The timeframe for when BRS might receive that approval is unknown; however, we do not anticipate implementation occurring prior to July 1, 2017.
 As outlined in previous correspondence, a state VR agency must implement an order of selection when it lacks sufficient staffing or fiscal resources to serve all eligible individuals. Over the last few years, BRS has worked to implement various strategies to work toward improved staffing capacity.  While some gains have been recognized through these efforts, BRS still has a resource deficit which is evidenced by long wait times for individuals served and high VR counselor turnover. The current staffing and fiscal resources are further complicated by an increase in referrals to the VR program and implementation of several new federal requirements under WIOA. BRS has made the very difficult determination that movement to order of selection can no longer be delayed.
 Information about order of selection, including the draft State Plan Amendment, can be viewed on the VR order of selection Web page. Additional information will continue to be added to this resource page, including a document to address frequently asked questions, and updates on BRS’ continued progress to build sufficient capacity to serve all eligible individuals. BRS also plans to hold a webinar that will be open to members of the public.
Thank you again for your feedback.  

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