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OKLAHOMA REHABILITATION COUNCIL Fiscal Year 2010 ANNUAL REPORT

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WE ARE the VOICE OF THE CONSUMER! 

MISSION

The mission of the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC) is to facilitate consumer education and empowerment, to assure services are of high quality, and lead to employment of individuals with disabilities within Oklahoma.

PURPOSE

In accordance with the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, which reauthorized the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) in Section 105, The Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC) was created to review, analyze, and advise the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) regarding the performance of the responsibilities relating to:

  • eligibility,
  • extent, scope and effectiveness of services provided, and
  • functions performed by DRS that affect or potentially affect the ability of individuals with disabilities in achieving employment outcomes.

Additional duties cited in the Rehabilitation Act include:

  • In partnership with the DRS, develop, agree to, and review state goals and priorities and evaluate the effectiveness of the Vocational Rehabilitation Division and Visual Services Division and submit reports of progress to the commissioner of Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) of the U.S. Department of Education on progress made, achievement of the goals and the assessment of
    performance on standards and indicators.
  • Advise the DRS regarding activities authorized to be carried out and assist in the preparation of the state plan and amendments to the plan, applications, reports, needs assessments, and evaluations.
  • Conduct a review and analysis of the effectiveness of vocational rehabilitation services and consumer satisfaction.
  • DRS regularly consults with the SRC on the development, implementation, and revision of agency’s policies and procedures, including policies and procedures to enable each applicant to exercise informed choice throughout the VR process.
  • Prepare and submit an annual review to the Governor and the Commissioner of RSA on the status of vocational rehabilitation programs operated within the State.
  • Coordinate the work of the Council with the activities of other disability related councils.
  • Establish working relationships between the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, the Statewide Independent Living Council, and Centers for Independent Living within Oklahoma.This document contains information highlighting the working partnership and accomplishments of the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council, the Department of Rehabilitation Services, and other stakeholders.

STRUCTURE

DRS contracts with the Seretean Wellness Center at Oklahoma State University (OSU) for the provision of the staff support services for the ORC as set forth in Section 105 and Section 4.2 of the State Plan of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. The Director of Sponsored Programs at the Seretean Wellness Center hires, supervises, and evaluates a full time Program Manager position for the daily operations of the council. In addition, OSU manages all contractual financial obligations of the council. In turn, DRS provides in-kind services of office space, phone and computer access to the council staff.

To request additional copies or alternate formats of this publication or for more information about the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council please contact: 
Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council
3535 NW 58th Street, Suite 500
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112-4824 
(405) 951-3579 V/TTY . (405) 951-3532  Fax
www.okrehabcouncil.org 
thamrick@okdrs.gov


YEAR IN REVIEW

COUNCIL STRUCTURE

During 2010, the ORC fulfilled all membership requirements of Section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act with appointments by the Governor. The Council had 18 members, 3 being ex-officio, nonvoting members from DRS. Of the voting members, the council had 67% representation from persons with disabilities. The council members are a cross-section of individuals with disabilities who have a stake in vocational rehabilitation services. Members serve three-year terms, with the exception of the Client Assistance Program representative; no voting member can serve more than two consecutive full terms. 

The council structure includes Chair, Vice-Chair and three members at-large as executive committee members. Each member of the executive committee holds the position of chair on a committee. At the request of the ORC, the agency has assigned a staff liaison to each committee that acts as a content specialist to that committee. These members were renamed Associate Members due to the importance of the work of each committee.

The ORC amended the bylaws in May 2010 to update the function and responsibilities of the members and staff. Additionally, the ORC created standard operating procedures to assist members with expectations of members and officers. This will be used in the recruitment of future members as well as orientation of new members.

• Quarterly Meetings
In compliance with the Rehabilitation Act the council met quarterly during FFY10 and held an annual strategic planning meeting. Meeting dates were: 

November 19, 2009
February 18, 2010
April 8, 2010
May 20, 2010
August 19, 2010

Committees met as needed, but at least once per quarter throughout the year, to complete their tasks outlined in the ORC Strategic Plan. 


EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Chairperson – Milissa Gofourth

  • As a result of funds received under the federal stimulus package, all priority groups remained open for the entire year of 2009-2010. The Director provided continuous updates on the impact of required state agency budget cuts that were a result of the shortfall of state revenues during state fiscal year (SFY) 2010. DRS was one of only four state agencies that did not take a cut in the State of Oklahoma’s FY11 budget that passed the legislature in May 2010. 
  • The executive committee continued to work closely with the Director to build a positive working relationship to accomplish the necessary tasks of the council. This included the partnership in the development of the 2nd phase of the three year Comprehensive Needs Assessment, participation in the submission of the State Plan, involvement with the status of all priority groups, and re-engineering the agencies policies and procedures as they pertain to client services. Throughout the year, the agency provided updates on the opportunities for staff development through leadership training, attendance to the national conference (many held in the State of Oklahoma) and the development of the Program Manager Academy. 

POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE

Chairperson – Glenda Farnum

  • The assigned liaison for this committee is the DRS Legislative Coordinator. 
  • The Policy and Legislative Committee collaborated with the DRS Public Information Office with Disability Awareness Day 2010 at the State Capitol. Committee members served as legislative guides by providing directions and assistance to more than 440 participants. 
  • The Policy and Legislative Committee continued its collaboration with DRS in the implementation of the Consumer Success Story. The ORC utilized this information, which was shared with Congressional members in Washington, DC, at the Council of State Administrators for Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) 2010 spring conference during legislative session visits. They shared this information with state legislators at the Disability Awareness Day event. 
  • ORC staff and members participated in the CSAVR 2010 spring conference in Bethesda, Maryland, as well as the 2009 fall conference in Phoenix, Arizona. While in the DC area, visits were made ‘On the Hill’ and informational packets, prepared by the Policy and Legislative Committee, and were shared with the Oklahoma delegation. 
  • Visits were made to local US Congressional District offices to continue building the working relationships to assist with constituent concerns on disability related issues. 
  • The committee continued its involvement with the DRS Re-Engineering Committee, which reviewed and analyzed agency policy to make appropriate recommendations for change to the DRS Commission. A primary focus this year was to do a comprehensive review of all policies to ensure alignment with the Rehabilitation Act. This process will take more than one year to complete. The involvement of both ORC and the Client Assistance Program throughout the entire process helps to ensure better understanding of the barriers that clients face regarding proposed changes to policy.

The ORC sought community input from program participants, advocates, employers, educators  and other stakeholders on proposed policy changes through three Public Hearings. They were cohosted
by DRS and the ORC on February 8, 2010 in Oklahoma City; February 9, 2010 in Lawton; and February 10, 2010 in Tulsa. ORC supported the following proposed policy changes for FY10:

Basic Living Requirement
The Basic Living Requirement is being increased from 150% to 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. This will assist in the removal of barriers to individuals with economic challenges who may not have been able to participate financially in the cost of services.

Closed – Not Accepted for Services
This policy change makes trial work experiences the first approach when questioning if an applicant’s disability is too severe to allow benefit from vocational rehabilitation, and extended evaluation a second approach when trial work is not feasible. This change ensures that individuals with the most significant disabilities are afforded every opportunity to receive vocational rehabilitation services.

Transportation
This policy changes transportation payment to 50% of the state mileage rate for the client to participate in services when needed. The new calculation should increase the transportation amount received by the client.

General Guidelines for Training Services
This policy requires all PELL Grant and other comparable benefit funds to be applied to training expenses before vocational rehabilitation funds can be utilized. This change aligns policy with the Rehabilitation Act.

Self-Employment Programs
The policy expands self-employment opportunities through the expanded definition of self-employment.

  • The Policy and Legislative Committee conducted a grassroots advocacy event to provide participants with the necessary tools, knowledge and skills to enhance their advocacy practices and become more proficient when addressing key concerns with legislators. The sessions were highly interactive with considerable opportunity for participation to discuss issues and ask questions. This event was free to the public and brought together persons with disabilities, family members, friends and professionals involved in the rehabilitation fields. The event was a great success as determined by the positive feedback received on the evaluations. The event was attended by 200, which was the maximum attendance allowed. 5

PLANNING AND PROGRAM COMMITTEE

Chairperson – Marilyn Burr

  • The assigned liaison for the committee was the DRS Project Coordinator for the Vocational Rehabilitation Division.
  • The ORC effectively partnered with DRS in the development of the FY11 State Plan including developing the goals and priorities for the agency. The ORC co-hosted public hearings on May 17, 2010 in Oklahoma City; May 18, 2010 in Lawton; and May 19, 2010 in Tulsa on the State Plan. Flyers were developed and mailed in an attempt to increase awareness and attendance at the Public Hearings.
  • This committee created a Keeping Track of Your Progress and Informed Choice tools for the consumer to assist them throughout the vocational rehabilitation process. These forms are being included with each application packet given to consumers.
  • DRS reported the following FFY10 data to the Commission:
    2,294 cases had successful closure
    4,063 cases were closed for other reasons
    10,297 new applications were received
    6,607 plans were written in the year
    Of the reported outcomes of all types, the percentage of each closure type (rounded to the nearest tenth):

Closed Other (pie chart)

30% closed as an applicant (1,239 applicants)
37% closed after eligibility, before services (1,516 clients)
32% closed after services were initiated (1,288 clients)

Individual Services by Disability Priority Group

Consumers Served by Priority Group (pie chart)

Priority Group 1  - 7,037 39%
Priority Group 2 - 7,986 45%
Priority Group 3 - 1,731 10%

Successful Closures 2,294 vs. Closed Other 4,063.

Average days in application status 39
Average months in eligibility 3.1
Average months receiving services 27.3

Average Cost per Successful Closure $7,022.34
Average Cost per Closed Other $4,222.44


ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY AD-HOC COMMITTEE

The Assistive Technology Ad-hoc Committee that began in 2008 concluded their work. At the November quarterly meeting the Chair reviewed the findings and recommendations of the AT Ad hoc Committee. The Council voted to approve the recommendations. It was decided, based on the complexity of the AT service delivery system, that it would be best to incorporate AT into the work of a permanent committee that continuously studies other client service issues. Therefore, AT initiatives were transferred to the Planning and Program Committee. In February, a letter was sent to the Director requesting a response from DRS on the Committee’s recommendation. Although discussed with the Director many times, there was no official reply to the ORC on the AT Ad-hoc committee recommendations.

COMPREHENSIVE NEEDS ASSESSMENT (CNA)

Over the past two years, in partnership with the ORC, DRS has contracted with an independent consultant to conduct a phase-in 3 year Comprehensive Needs Assessment (CNA). Phase 1 was completed in FY09, which included surveying a sample population of closed cases. Phase 2 began in FY10 and assessed consumer satisfaction and statewide rehabilitation and career needs of a sample population of individuals that had an open case with an Individual Plan for Employment in progress. A summary of the results of these surveys are included in the annual state plan and are incorporated into DRS goals and priorities for the purpose of effectively meeting consumers’ needs and improving the overall quality of service delivery across the state of Oklahoma. The survey was sent to 1,278 participants who were randomly selected from the targeted population of 12,778 participant cases meeting established criteria. Of the 1,278 surveys mailed, 326 individuals returned completed surveys which is considered a statistically significant response rate.

The key findings from the FY09 Survey that were utilized in the development of the FY10 State Plan were:

  • Overall, findings suggest that consumers are pleased with both services received, and if employed, consumers are pleased with the job they hold. 
  • Consumers who felt that their counselors were responsive to them, informed them of the option to choose non DRS services providers if external services were needed, and empowered them to choose their job goal, were significantly more likely to achieve rehabilitation success. 
  • Consumers with the most significant disabilities felt like they were empowered to choose external service providers to a greater extent than consumers with significant disabilities. 
  • Consumers without a significant disability more often felt that they were able to choose their job goal when compared to persons with the most significant disabilities and those with significant disabilities.
  • Consumers who reported that they were able to get training for work in the community where they lived were significantly more likely to be closed rehabilitated when compared to consumers who received training outside of their resident community. 

Recommendations from CNA:

  • There needs to be increased emphasis on empowering consumers to make informed choices about their job goals, and the community services and external service providers needed to assist them in reaching their goals. This can be accomplished through formal staff trainings and through open encouragement from all leadership levels. 
  • Additional consumer service training, regarding the importance of rehabilitation counselor and rehabilitation technician responsiveness to consumers and speed in which their plans for employment are developed, may be warranted.
  • There is a need to raise the profile of the Client Assistant Program among rehabilitation counselors, rehabilitation technicians and consumers. This could be done through formal trainings aimed at enhancing staffs’ understanding of CAP’s role and function.
  • Review of current local service providers and targeted sustained efforts to increase local service providers is needed to increase customer opportunities for choice. 
  • Current public transportation systems, especially in urban areas, should be reviewed with an eye toward identifying additional public transportation resources. Greater access to such transportation services will make it easier for consumers to attend DRS appointments, training and employment.
  • There needs to be greater emphasis placed on counselors and technicians facilitating consumers’ training for work within the community where consumers live. This evidence based “best practice”can be seen as a lesson learned from the current analysis of the data.
  • DRS is encouraged to review its agreements with all workforce partners to determine if there are barriers in policy that are limiting consumer’s access to local Onestops. Joint trainings between DRS and local Onestops should be conducted to enhance understanding of each others’ role and function, remove the barriers to service access and improve overall Onestop service delivery to persons with disabilities.

CONSUMER SATISFACTION SURVEY KEY FINDINGS

The Rehabilitation Act requires that the State Rehabilitation Council assess vocational rehabilitation services for effectiveness and consumer satisfaction. Each year the ORC works with DRS on the consumer satisfaction survey. Surveys were mailed to 2,709 randomly selected individuals who had received vocational rehabilitation services. The survey was returned by 695 individuals with a return rate of 25.7%, which is an increase from last year. The FY10 survey results had a 75.4% overall satisfaction with consumers, which represents the lowest score received since the overall satisfaction statement was included in FY04. 

The survey statements experiencing the greatest increase of 4.5% was “I participated fully in the development of my Individual Plan for Employment” and a 2.5% increase in “Services were provided to me in a reasonable amount of time”. The VR individual score increased approximately 1.5% while the VS individual score decreased by 9.7% from the previous year. The survey statements experiencing the greatest decrease in satisfaction were the following areas: “Does the counselor keep in close enough contact with you?,” “Services I received through VR/VS were appropriate to meet my needs for employment” and “I was able to receive an appointment with my counselor in a reasonable amount of time.” As a result, the Director has instructed staff to provide  services as soon as possible and not to take the allotted time allowed under the Rehabilitation Act regulations. Staff were also instructed to use the presumed eligibility option at every chance available.

Other findings were positive, and neutral comments praised the variety of services offered, service provision methods, contract services providers, and DRS staff. Consumers often thanked specific staff and attributed program progress and success to them. 

Negative comments focused most often on a general lack of contact or action by staff, feelings of disrespect on the part of DRS staff toward consumers, disappointment regarding costs of services or slow service provisions, as well as, an overall frustration with the inability to obtain gainful employment upon completion of the program. 

TRANSITION AND EMPLOYMENT

Chairperson – Milissa Gofourth & Nancy Garner

  • The assigned liaison for this committee was the DRS Transition Coordinator.
  • The committee continued their participation with the Oklahoma Transition Council, a multiagency collaboration, for the purpose of promoting enhanced transition outcomes for secondary and post-secondary youth with disabilities. Committee members and ORC staff participated in the planning, development and implementation of the annual statewide Oklahoma Transition Institute. The 2010 OTI statewide meeting had approximately 400 participants and 34 teams. OTI teams presented their projects to the ORC at the quarterly meetings. 
  • This committee is in the process of creating a transition flow chart to assist parents with transitioning throughout the school years. It will be distributed among parent groups and other interested consumer groups. 

OTHER ORC INITIATIVES

  • .Strategic Plan

The ORC developed a strategic plan in the spring of 2009 to serve as a roadmap to the standing committees for FFY10. It was determined to include the ORC strategic plan within the agency’s state plan as part of attachment 4.2(c). This enabled the ORC to enhance its partnership with the agency.

  • Transportation Coalition

The council continued to support the mission and goals of Oklahomans for Public Transportation (OPT) Advocacy Group and partners as an advocate for increased public transportation throughout Oklahoma. ORC staff and council members continued to work with various committees and groups to educate and inform state officials of this immense barrier to individuals with disabilities.

  • Virgil Taylor Memorial Scholarship Fund

The ORC partnered with the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Association in hosting the 2nd annual golf tournament to fund a scholarship to assist bachelor’s level students to pursue a career in vocational rehabilitation counseling.

  • National SRC Effort

The ORC continues to be a strong supporter and participates on the Steering Committee of the National Coalition for State Rehabilitation Councils (NCSRC). NCSRC is a national advocacy voice for the public vocational rehabilitation system and allows the SRCs across the nation the opportunity to establish a mechanism for ongoing training and sharing best practices.

  • Social Security Ticket To Work

The Program Manager of the ORC completed the certification as Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) and additional training for the Ticket to Work program. This will allow the Program Manager to provide better information and referral services to consumers.

ADDITIONAL PROJECTS AND ACTIVITIES

  • ORC staff continued to work with the Director and Deputy Director of Appointments with the Governor’s office on council appointments.
  • ORC members and staff continued to attend the Statewide Independent Living Council quarterly meetings, Governor’s Council on Workforce & Economic Development, quarterly meetings with DRS Administrations and bi-monthly meetings with the Director, and serves on the Assistive Technology Act Program Consumer Advisory Council, as well as, exhibiting at various disability related events.
  • ORC members created the Strategic Plan for activities that were outlined in the FFY11 DRS State Plan Section 4.2 (c). This strategic plan included goals, objectives, activities, tasks and committee assignments.
  • ORC responded to requests for information regarding DRS services and consumer complaints, referring them to the appropriate services manager, to the Client Assistance Program, the
    appropriate agency, or support group.
  • ORC conducted ongoing membership recruitment at public events. 
  • ORC staff continued to present at the DRS New Employee Academy so new staff could be introduced to the mandates and responsibilities of the ORC as outlined in the Rehabilitation Act. 

CLOSING

In closing, the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council will continue to value its partnership with the state agency and actively work to be recognized and utilized by DRS as a resourceful advocate. The membership of the Council is committed to learn the systemic issues faced by DRS and how they impact the quality of successful employment outcomes for persons with disabilities. While other state agencies received budget cuts and staff furloughs, due to extreme challenges with Oklahoma’s economy, DRS was able to continue to serve all priority groups and support staff development initiatives. There are still many challenges ahead to ensure Oklahomans with disabilities have quality employment outcomes. Although DRS was able to meet all of the Standards and Indicators for the year, improvements with employment outcomes and quality customer service needs to remain a priority and continue to grow in the future. The ORC will continue to align efforts with DRS to ensure Oklahomans with disabilities receive services in the most effective and efficient method possible.

State of Oklahoma map including the names of all counties. 

Adair, Alfalfa, Atoka Beaver Beckham Blaine Bryan Caddo Canadian Carter Cherokee Choctaw Cimarron Cleveland Coal Comanche Cotton Craig Creek Custer Delaware Dewey Ellis Garfield Garvin Grady Grant Greer Harmon Harper Haskell Hughes Jackson Jefferson Johnston Kay Kingfisher Kiowa Latimer Le Flore Lincoln Logan Love McClain McCurtain MacIntosh Major Marshall Mayes Murray Muskogee Noble Nowata Okfuskee Oklahoma Okmulgee Osage Ottawa Pawnee Payne Pittsburg Pontotoc Pottawatomie Pushmataha Roger Mills Rogers Seminole Sequoyah Stephens Texas Tillman Tulsa Wagoner Washington Washita Woods Woodward


OKLAHOMA REHABILITATION COUNCIL MEMBERS
Letha Bauter (pending), State Professional Development Grant Project Coordinator, Oklahoma State Department of Education Oklahoma City, OK

Marilyn Burr, CAP Director, Office of Disability Concerns Oklahoma City, OK 

Glenda Farnum Advocate Warr Acres, OK 

Cindy Gallup, Social Worker DHS Stratford School System Stratford, OK 

Nancy Garner, Director of Special Projects Oklahoma Parent Information Center Holdenville, OK

Milissa Gofourth, Program Manager, Oklahoma ABLE Tech Stillwater, OK

Tammie Jones, VR Specialist, Department of Rehabilitation Services Weatherford, OK

Kathleen Kennedy Advocate Edmond, OK

Sterling Krysler, President Krysler Consulting Oklahoma City, OK 

Connie Lake, Assistant Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Economice Development OK State Higher Regents for Higher Education Oklahoma City, OK

Doug MacMillan Jr., Executive Director OK One-Call System Oklahoma City, OK 

Hailey Mathis Advocate Tuttle, OK

Jacki Millspaugh, Director of Treatment and Recovery OK Dept. of Mental Health Susbstance Abuse Services Oklahoma City, OK

Mike O’Brien, Director Department of Rehabilitation Services Oklahoma City, OK 

Tim Parrish, Fleet Administrator Enterprise Products Oklahoma City, OK 

Jon Ringlero, Program Coordinator Delaware Nation Vocational Rehabilitation Program Oklahoma City, OK 

Amy Salmon, Instructor Hadley School for the Blind Yukon, OK 

Perry Sanders, Professor Langston University Tulsa, OK

Sabrina Ware, Coordinator, Employment & Training Goodwill Industries of Tulsa, Inc. Tulsa, OK 

Sue Williams, VR Specialist Department of Rehabilitation Services Weatherford, OK


Oklahoma State University – Seretean Wellness Center Staff 

Theresa Hamrick Program Manager 
Linda Jaco Director of Sponsored Programs 


To: Governor Brad Henry & Commissioner Lynnae Rutledge

On behalf of the members of the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC), we want to present you with the 2010 Annual Report. It is the intent of the Council to have this report be a summary of the activities undertaken by the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council during this past year. ORC members are proud to represent the voice of the consumer. 

During FFY10, DRS received 10,297 new applications; 6,607 plans were written in FFY10; and 2,294 people completed Individual Plans for Employment and were successfully rehabilitated. The ORC would like to congratulate DRS in meeting all of their standards and indicators for the year. These accomplishments would not have been achieved without the dedication of the DRS staff who have worked diligently to provide quality services to Oklahomans with disabilities.

The ORC’s three standing committees continue to work with DRS on major program issues. The more significant of these include, completion of the FFY11 State Plan; fully participating in the reengineering committee to review all agency policy; Partnering with DRS on the Consumer Satisfaction Survey; and phase II of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment. The ORC sponsored the first Advocacy Conference so Oklahomans with disabilities could learn how to make an individual and collective difference in the legislative process.

Being involved at the national level has increased our knowledge and ability to improve the effectiveness of ORC in meeting all of the requirements of the Rehabilitation Act as amended. The program manager continues to be an active member of the steering committee of the National SRC Coalition. In addition, I had the opportunity to be a work group member on the national 36th Institute on Rehabilitation Issues that created the document, “The State Rehabilitation Council – Vocational Rehabilitation Partnership: Working Together Works”.

It has been an honor and privilege to serve as chair of the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council. The ORC members take their advocacy role seriously and are honored to provide leadership and to work in partnership with the Department Rehabilitation Services.

Sincerely,

Milissa Gofourth
Chair

 

November 3, 2010

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Members:

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (ODRS) is pleased to work in partnership with the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC). The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services and the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council share a strong commitment to assist Oklahomans with disabilities become independent through employment opportunities.

ODRS appreciates the continuous guidance and support the Council provides on key issues such as the implementation and development process of consumer-focused VR programs and policies.

As the Director of the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services, I feel the Agency is very fortunate that the ORC has assumed an essential role in helping to
strengthen the effectiveness of the vocational rehabilitation programs. 

As the Agency faces new challenge, the ODRS will continue striving towards our mission to provide opportunities for individuals with disabilities to achieve productivity, independence and an enriched quality of life.

Sincerely,

Michael O’Brien, Ed.D.
Director, Oklahoma Department
of Rehabilitation Services

3535 N.W. 58 Street, Suite 500 • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112-4824 • Voice/TTY: (405) 951-3400 • Fax: (405) 951-3529


November 5, 2010

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council
3535 NW 58th Street, Suite 500
Oklahoma City, OK  73112

Dear Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Members, 

Attention: Theresa Hamrick, Program Manager

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC) for its outstanding collaboration, and partnership with the Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (OKDRS). The State of Oklahoma truly has one of the best ORC's in the nation. 

During the past year ORC has been actively involved in participating in our Policy and Re-engineering Group, which has streamlined DRS policy and procedures. The ORC has taken the lead on developing and implementing the Comprehensive Needs Assessment, and participated in the development of the State Plan for OKDRS.

The ORC continues to be actively involved in projects such as Disability Awareness Day, and various transition activities. The ORC has recently conducted advocacy training on behalf of individuals with disabilities, and has continued to assist OKDRS with various staff trainings, and other outreach projects. The ORC has worked side by side with OKDRS to develop networking opportunities that enhance relationships with other entities that serve those with disabilities. 

The ORC is a valued partner with OKDRS in implementing its vocational rehabilitation program in the state of Oklahoma. I personally look forward to working closely with the ORC in the upcoming year to assure a continued focus on improving services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities. 

Sincerely, 
Mark Kinnision
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation 
3535 N.W. 58 Street, Suite 500 • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112-4824 • Voice/TTY: (405) 951-3400 • Fax: (405) 951-3529

 

December 7, 2010

Mrs. Theresa Hamrick, Program Manager
Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council
3535 NW 58th Street, Suite 500
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services

Dear Theresa:

It is my honor and privilege to write a letter of support for the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council. The partnership that continues between the ORC and the Division of Visual Services is one of the most viable and one of the most vital partnerships that enhance the lives of those we serve. Without this valuable relationship many of the things that we have accomplished would have simply gone un-done.

One of the most outstanding partnerships that the ORC and the Division of Visual Services participated in this year was our “Agenda on Blindness”. The magnitude of this project is only outweighed by the outcomes. Your participation in the group process reflects the commitment of the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council to people with disabilities and to people with blindness in particular. Without your support, without your involvement, and without your commitment, this project would not have reached as many people and we would not have had the very large participation of our patrons. “Thank you” seems so inadequate in recognizing what you have done for Visual Services.

Also, your continued efforts at building working relationships with our Congressional Representatives and Senators have resulted in more open lines of communication between DRS and our Washington Representatives. This is no small accomplish and because of your efforts DRS and ultimately our consumers will certainly be the benefactors.

Being the Administrator of Visual Services, I seek always to be a strong partner with the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council and I look forward with optimism to the long and productive relationship between the Division of Visual Services and the ORC.

Sincerely,

Jane Nelson, Administrator
Division of Visual Services
3535 N.W. 58 Street, Suite 500 • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112-4824 • Voice/TTY: (405) 951-3400 • Fax: (405) 951-3529

 

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council
3535 N.W. 58 Street, Suite 500 • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112-4824 • Voice/TTY: (405) 951-3400 • Fax: (405) 951-3529
www.okrehabcouncil.org