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2012 Annual Report

The following link opens the full report.

2012 ORC Annual Report

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:

1. eligibility,
2. extent, scope and effectiveness of services provided, and
3. 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:

1. 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 2012, the ORC fulfilled all membership requirements of Section 105 of the
Rehabilitation Act with appointments by the Governor. The Council had 19 members, 3 being
ex-officio, nonvoting members from DRS. Of the voting members, the council had 53%
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 called Associate Members due to the
importance of the work of each committee.

Quarterly Meetings

In compliance with the Rehabilitation Act, the council met quarterly during FFY12 and held an
annual strategic planning meeting. Meeting dates were:
    November 10, 2011
    February 16, 2012
    March 14, 2012 (Strategic Planning)
    May 17, 2012
    August 16, 2012

Sub-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 – Glenda Farnum

  • The ongoing dialogue between the DRS Director and ORC kept us informed of agency
    activities. Although DRS was under an Order of Selection they were able to remove consumers
    from the waiting list periodically throughout the year.
  • 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 a
    partnership in the completion of the 3rd 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 agency’s policies and procedures as they pertain to
    client services. Throughout the year, the agency provided updates on opportunities for staff
    development through leadership training, attendance to the national conference and the
    development of the Program Manager Academy.

POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE

Chairpersons – Tim Parrish and Hailey Mathis Co-Chairs

  • 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 2012 at the State Capitol. Committee members served as
    legislative guides by providing directions and assistance to participants with over 650 attendees.
    This increase was more than 100 over last year’s attendance.
  • 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) 2012 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 2012 spring conference in Bethesda,
    Maryland, as well as the 2011 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, were shared with the Oklahoma delegation. These visits have assisted in the
    development of relationships with our Congressional members. This has opened doors to key
    players involved with legislative issues concerning people with disabilities.
  • 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 last year was to do a comprehensive review of all policies to
    ensure alignment with the Rehabilitation Act. This year the focus was on making minor
    changes to further align the policy with the Rehabilitation Act. More decision making was
    assigned to the appropriate level to expedite services to the client. 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 6, 2012 in Oklahoma City, February 7, 2012 in Tulsa
and February 8, 2012 in Lawton. The DRS agency sends out notices. However, the ORC sends
out notices statewide with non-biased information to explain how the proposed changes may affect
the client.

In the previous year policies were re-organized to follow the sequence of case activity, from
application through eligibility, plan development, service provision and closure. The current year
had minor changes to clarify language for both staff and clients. Policy was also posted on the DRS
website to assist clients and other stakeholders with easier access to this information. The ORC
supports change that allows for greater understanding for all parties involved, including consumers.

  • Purchase of Services and Goods for Individuals with Disabilities
    This policy clarifies that the title to an item may be released to the client when the
    counselor determines the item is being used as planned, without waiting on successful
    case closure. This change may reduce barriers allowing for employment outcomes.
  • Basic Eligibility Requirements for Vocational Rehabilitation Services
    This policy changes established eligibility criteria and methods of determining eligibility
    for vocational rehabilitation services. Aside from the clearer language assisting in
    eligibility determination, it may allow for services to be provided for potential eligible
    individuals, who previously may have been inadvertently eliminated due to lack of clarity
    in former policy language.
  • General Guidelines for Physical and Mental Restoration Services
    This policy addresses a concern the agency has had with the rising cost of dental services.
    The use of the dental consultant and supervisory approval may be a better use of DRS
    funds so that more individuals can receive services. The ORC encourages that all services
    be provided appropriately, without applying a cap or limit on dental services. The
    proposed policy does subject the services to a higher level of scrutiny.
  • Agency Financial Contribution to Self-Employment/Purchasing
    This policy changes established eligibility criteria and methods of determining eligibility
    for vocational rehabilitation services. Aside from the clearer language assisting in
    eligibility determination, it may allow for services to be provided for potential eligible
    individuals, who previously may have been inadvertently eliminated due to lack of clarity
    in former policy language.

This policy change removes an arbitrary limit on the amount that the agency might contribute.
This streamlines the approval process for both the agency and the client.

The involvement of the ORC during policy research and development allows for true consumer
contributions, which aligns with the intent of the Rehabilitation Act.


PLANNING AND PROGRAM COMMITTEE

Chairpersons – Marilyn Burr and Tammie Jones Co-Chairs

  • 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 FY12 State Plan
    including developing the goals and priorities for the agency. The ORC co-hosted public
    hearings on May 17, 2011 in Tulsa; May 18, 2011 in Lawton; and May 19, 2011 in
    Oklahoma City on the State Plan. The May 19th public hearing was scheduled after an ORC
    quarterly meeting in an effort to encourage more participation from council members. Flyers
    were developed and mailed to increase awareness of the agencies goals and priorities addressed
    in the state.

Comments and recommendations made at public hearings for the FY2013 State Plan:

  • Attachment 4.8(b)(1) Cooperation with Agencies that Are Not in the Statewide Workforce
    Investment System and with Other Entities:
    The ORC believes the foundation to an effective partnership is in being an invested partner. We
    are encouraged that DRS continues to grow and expand partnerships with other entities for the
    betterment of people with disabilities in Oklahoma. The OK Durable Medical Equipment
    Reuse Program can serve as a much needed resource for those who may not meet eligibility
    criteria of other programs.
    It is our hope that a Memorandum of Understanding will be completed with the U.S.
    Department of Veteran Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services so services
    for veterans can be maximized in order to facilitate their return to work.
  • Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development:
    It is promising to see that East Central University has reestablished their Rehabilitation
    Master’s Program with the CORE accreditation. The enrollment numbers are growing and it is
    hopeful that the graduates from this program will stay in Oklahoma to fill the many vacant
    positions DRS currently has open. The ORC still encourages DRS to establish benchmark
    numbers to have a measurable outcome for recruitment efforts to evaluate their effectiveness. A
    few more universities were in this year’s state plan as recruitment locations.
  • Attachment 4.11 (a) Statewide Assessment:
    In partnership with the DSU, the ORC created the “Keeping Track of Your Progress” and
    “Informed Choice” tools to assist both the client and the agency with communication
    challenges and to empower consumers on making informed choices regarding employment
    goals. Questions regarding the effectiveness of these tools have been added to the consumer
    satisfaction survey to measure their effectiveness.
  • Attachment 4.11(b) Annual Estimates of Individuals to be Served and Costs of Services:
    The addition of Tableau, to the DRS case management system, has provided the agency the
    ability to forecast with better accuracy. It creates faster turnaround and on the spot, non-
    standardized reporting when needed.
  • Attachment 4.11 (c)(1) States Goals & Priorities:
    The ORC is encouraged to see that progress has been made on the Goals and Priorities. It is
    our goal that the agency will continue to create goals with measurable outcomes and then
    evaluate the results and adjust as needed to better serve individuals with disabilities in
    Oklahoma.
    The ORC is committed to continue to be a full partner with the DSU and offer our
    cooperation in efforts to meet the goals set in the State Plan.
  • The goal to collaborate with DRS to host webinars, for staff to address customer service and
    presumed eligibility that includes case recording in AWARE system, was transferred to the FY12
    Strategic Plan. The ORC staff was a part of the DRS Leadership initiative and participated on
    the team addressing customer service issues. The ORC worked with the pilot leadership team
    to roll out the customer service project statewide in FY12.
  • The ORC Program and Planning Committee worked with the Policy and Legislation
    Committee and the agency to remove barriers in policy that hindered the timeliness of
    providing computers to consumers that did not require assistive technology to accomplish their
    employment outcome.
  • The ORC partnered with the Divisions of Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services in
    following the Governor’s initiative regarding Oklahoma businesses utilizing career readiness
    certificates achieved through the WorkKeys assessment. Obtaining a career readiness certificate
    helps consumers with disabilities compete for careers and in local job markets. The partnership
    extended into jointly developing a Career Ready 101 process flowchart, as well as a WorkKeys
    process flowchart. These colorful flowcharts enabled counselors to follow the internal agency
    process of assisting clients in obtaining a career readiness certificate.
  • The ORC provided public analysis and comment on legislation, which might impact
    Oklahomans with disabilities and rehabilitation professionals.
  • DRS reported the following FFY12 data to the Commission:
           3,106 cases had successful closure
           3,869 cases were closed without employment after receiving services
           7,580 new applications were received
           3,399 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

After Services
3,869
As Applicant
1,813
After Eligibility
1,702

25% closed as an applicant (1,813 applicants)

23% closed after eligibility, before services (1,702 clients)

52% closed after services were initiated (3,869 clients)

Individual Services by Disability Priority Group

Consumers Served by Priority Group

Group 3
4,539

Group 1
8,987

Group 2
12,763
Priority Group 1 8,987 34%
Priority Group 2 12,763 49%
Priority Group 3 4,539 17%


Successful Closures 3,106 vs. Unsuccessful Closures 7,384

Successfull Closures

Closed Other

Closures

3,106
7,384
Average days in application status 39
Average months in eligibility 2.6
Average months receiving services 28.7

Successful Closures

Closed Other

Cost Per
ClosureType

$6,945
$3,740
Average cost per successful closure $6,945
Average cost per unsuccessful closure $3,740

FY12 STANDARDS AND INDICATORS INFORMATION:

DRS exceeded all Standards and Indicators except for indicator 1.2 that are closed cases that receive
services. The percentage with an Employment Outcome standard is 55.8% and the agency’s was
48.7% for FY12.

Order of Selection Information:

The DRS agency enacted Order of Selection for Priority Group 3 on August 15, 2011, and
Priority Group 2 on February 3, 2012, and Priority Group 1 on February 21, 2012. The agency
released 900 applicants from the waiting list between July 6th and September 26, 2012. There
were 2,768 applicants in delay status as of September 20, 2012.

COMPREHENSIVE NEEDS ASSESSMENT (CNA)

Over the past three 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 I was
completed in FY09, which included surveying a sample population of closed cases. Phase II 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.
In FY11, Phase III – the vendor survey was researched and developed. This survey was mailed to
vendors in the state that provide services to Oklahomans with disabilities. Not all vendors surveyed
had contracts with the agency. The results of these surveys are reported below for FY12.

Results from Phase I, II and III were 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.

Some key findings from the FY11 survey that were utilized in the development of the FY13 State
Plan are as follows:

Overall Observations from CNA Phase III:

  • Overall, findings suggest that a majority of vendors, responding to the survey, provide
    select competitive integrated employment services (i.e., career planning,
    assessment/employment training, school work study, and resume development) to
    consumers who desire to obtain or maintain employment. It should be noted, however,
    that the career planning and development service was the only service provided by a
    majority of the vendors across each vendor service region.
  • The current study evidences DRS’ commitment to objectively assessing its collaborative
    service efforts within the context of its CRP service vendors and workforce partners. By
    identifying current vendor needs, the study signifies DRS’ desire to continuously enhance
    service delivery and successful employment outcomes among consumers.
  • Overall, findings suggest that vendors felt they had the time and resources, and skills and
    knowledge to support their consumers to obtain and maintain employment. However, it
    may be important to note that those vendors serving the northeast, northwest and
    southeast quadrant areas less often felt that they had the time and resources and skills and
    knowledge to support and assist our consumers to obtain or maintain employment.
  • Of DRS vendors only, about 1 out of every 5 agencies felt that DRS should do more to
    make them aware of the types of resources available to support their efforts in providing
    services to consumers.

Recommendations from CNA Phase III:

  • DRS should strongly consider assessing consumer satisfaction and needs among their
    active consumers served by vendors. It might prove beneficial to identify consumers’ levels
    of satisfaction and need in relation to DRS vendors. In some cases, a participant’s
    perception on satisfaction and need in relation to vendor-sponsored services may be
    different than such perceptions of DRS-sponsored services. A broader contextual
    understanding is needed to develop robust strategies for improving services across DRS
    and its service vendors.
  • At least two actions should be considered to address vendor’s concern about a lack of
    resources to access employment related programs/services offered outside of their entity.
    First, DRS is encouraged to develop a resource guide listing services offered, contact
    information, etc. This resource guide would be periodically updated and made available to
    all CRP vendors and workforce partners. Second, DRS and other relevant entities should
    consider sponsoring annual trainings with vendor agency personnel aimed at increasing the
    awareness of services available to assist consumers to obtain and maintain employment.
  • There needs to be an increased emphasis placed on enhancing the number of job related
    training services available to consumers. Specifically, more on-the-job-training
    opportunities, job coaches, and job development activities focused on increasing
    employment and training opportunities for transitional students within local area
    businesses, are needed.
  • Current public transportation systems, especially in urban areas, should be reviewed with
    an eye toward identifying additional public transportation resources. Moreover, the
    concept of developing satellite vendor hubs in rural areas may need to be explored.
    Greater access to public transportation and a more proactive outreach agenda in rural areas
    may make it easier for consumers to participate.
  • There is a need to more frequently involve families and their members in the recruitment
    of consumers.
  • There may be a need to explore incentives to motivate consumers to participate in intake
    meetings, vocational assessments, etc. Moreover, vendors should consider providing
    counselors with training to enhance counseling skills. Better counselor/consumer
    interactions might result in higher levels of consumer morale, and thus greater
    participation. Skills and knowledge-based enhancement trainings should be provided to
    those vendors within those service areas that less often strongly agreed or agreed that they
    had the skills and knowledge to assist people to obtain or maintain employment; i.e.,
    northeast, northwest and southeast quadrant areas.
  • An increased emphasis should be placed on consumer’s access to mental health services in
    an effort to assist them to more effectively deal with “Personal/Home Life Issues” as they
    seek to obtain or maintain employment.
  • Additional effort should be devoted to identifying employers located outside of
    consumers’ communities that could hire them to work from home. Counselors should be
    encouraged to conduct job development with employers outside of consumers’
    communities with job opportunities (e.g., customer sales associates and medical billing
    specialists) that allow consumers to work from home.
  • DRS and vendors must continue to explore ways to address work disincentives (i.e. fear of
    losing SSI or SSDI, medical benefits, housing and food stamps) among persons with
    disabilities. There may be a need to better inform consumers about the benefits of “Ticket
    to Work” to address their fear of losing SSI or SSDI and medical benefits. Current
    practices and strategies for informing consumers of these benefits may need to be reviewed
    and modified, where necessary.
  • There may be a need to systematically examine the underpinnings of the reasons for
    service denial. A greater understanding for how to address some of the reasons that can be
    manipulated or changed (e.g., cannot be located, poor attendance, language barrier) might
    prove beneficial for increasing service delivery outcomes.


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 2,273 randomly selected
individuals who had received vocational rehabilitation services. The survey was returned by 517
individuals with a return rate of 22.7%, which is an increase from last year.

Two new questions were added to the survey this year. These questions were to measure client
satisfaction with the usefulness of two new tools: Keeping Track of Your Progress Guide and the
Informed Choice Guide. These tools were created by the ORC to assist consumers through the
rehabilitation process with information on expectations and timelines. If these tools do not prove
to provide educational information, we will discontinue their mandatory use.

The overall satisfaction rate with VR and VS for FY12 is 74.1%. This score is lower than the
overall satisfaction rate documented in the FY11 survey and represents the lowest score received
since the overall satisfaction statement was included in the survey in FY04.

When VR and VS are examined individually, overall satisfaction decreased approximately 0.1
percentage points for the VR division and decreased 6.4 percentage points for the VS division as
compared to the FY11 survey. In FY12, VS rated 76.2% compared with 82.6% last year, while VR
scored 73.5% compared to 73.6%.

Two survey statements experienced the greatest increase in agreement rating: “Services I received
through VR and/or VS were appropriate to meet my needs for employment” – an increase of 4.1
percentage points and “I was informed of the services that were available” – up 3.9 percentage
points.

Of those survey statements experiencing a decline in satisfaction rates, the maximum rate drop
was 2.6 percentage points. Survey statements experiencing at least a 2.3 percentage point drop
included the following: “The staff treated me with courtesy and respect” experienced a 2.6
percentage point drop; and “I was able to receive an appointment with my counselor in a
reasonable amount of time” – 2.6 percentage point drop.

Other findings were positive, and neutral comments praised the variety of services offered, service
provision methods, contract service 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 or service providers toward consumers, as well as an overall
frustration with the inability to obtain gainful employment upon completion of the program.

90 DAY RESPONSE CLOSED CASE CONSUMER
SATISFACTION SURVEY KEY FINDINGS

It was a recommendation by the ORC and the new DRS Director that closed cases should be
surveyed immediately after closure to ensure better longitudinal information of the completed
rehabilitation process.

The Closed Case Consumer Satisfaction Survey is an ongoing collection of data mailed weekly to
clients with closed cases. This is a new survey with data collection started in February of 2010.
The data included 5,264 consumers from October 1, 2010 to September 30, 2011. The survey
experienced a response rate of 17.7%.

Based on the factor analysis findings, we can conclude that there are four factors contributing to
“satisfaction” as “Rehabilitated” perceived by the client: DRS Staff Professionalism contributes
25.06%; Client Participation/Information provided contributes 19.52%; and Services contributed
14%. We can conclude that there are two factors contributing to “satisfaction” as “Other than
Rehabilitation” perceived by the client: Professionalism and Services contributes 41.51% and
Client Participation/Information contributes 23.90%.


TRANSITION AND EMPLOYMENT

Chairpersons – Jackie Millspaugh and Kim Osmani Co-Chairs

  • The assigned liaison for this committee was the DRS Transition Coordinator.
  • The committee continued their participation with the Oklahoma Transition Council, a multi-
    agency 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 2011 OTI statewide meeting had approximately 365
    participants and 25 teams. OTI teams presented their projects to the ORC at quarterly
    meetings.
  • This committee completed a project in which a transition flow chart was developed to assist
    parents and school personnel with transitioning youth with disabilities throughout the school
    years. The folder was debuted at the November 2011 6th Annual OTI. It was met with
    outstanding success. We’ve had many requests for this folder since that time. It is also available
    on the ORC website. As with all documents it is available in alternate formats as well as
    Spanish.
  • An on-line survey was utilized to collect feedback and recommendations from advocacy groups on
    the following two transition goals. The first goal was to gather feedback and recommendations for
    a best practice tool for streamlining the client process for students receiving transition services.
    The second goal was providing a distance learning opportunity for professionals that work with
    students with disabilities regarding the benefit of transition services. Additionally, some feedback
    was received through small focus groups held during other presentations across the state. The
    feedback received will be used to edit the tool before final production.
  • The new forms developed in the past two years: Transition Flow Chart, Keeping Track of Your
    Progress and Informed Choice have been incorporated into training programs for the agency as
    well as advocacy groups.
  • The ORC partnered with DRS to co-host a statewide training opportunity on transition
    services and Individualized Education Program development for professionals through
    partnering with the Career Tech. Continuing education credits were provided to those
    professionals who attended.


OTHER ORC INITIATIVES

Strategic Plan
The ORC developed a Strategic Plan in the spring of 2012 to serve as a roadmap to
the standing committees for FFY13. 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. Each committee focused on their
objectives and tasks during committee meetings. All objectives were met. Several
objectives span more than one year. These objectives will be continued on the next
Strategic Plan until completed.

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 4th
annual golf tournament to fund a scholarship to assist bachelor’s level students to pursue
a career in vocational rehabilitation counseling. This activity serves as a recruiting effort
for the agency for counselor positions.

National SRC Effort
The ORC continues to be a strong supporter with participation 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. NCSRC Steering Committee members serve as a
resource and mentor to other states who request assistance. The ORC has assisted
several states with information regarding the development of consumer satisfaction
surveys and the need for strategic planning as well as the sharing of our strategic plan.
We will continue to mentor any SRC that has a need. The NCSRC has expanded their
training from the national meeting to include a full day of training for SRC Chairs and
their role and responsibilities under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as Amended. This
new training has been met with outstanding success. It has also increased requests for
state to state mentoring.

Wicked Innovations Next Generation Solutions (WINGS) Leadership Training
The Program Manager of the ORC attended the DRS Leadership Training program
alongside DRS Counselors. The team the ORC staff participated on developed a
customer service training module. This was created following extensive research on
customer service from leaders in service industries. It was rolled out to a pilot group
within the agency and will be rolled out statewide in the next fiscal year. Other state
agencies have seen this module and are interested in adapting it for their use.

Meet The Candidate Forum
The ORC partnered with the Heartland Council of the Blind, National Federation of
the Blind OK Chapter, Sight Hearing Encouragement Program for Individuals who are
Deaf-Blind, and the Statewide Independent Living Council to co-host the third “Meet
the Candidate” forum. More than 23 candidates from the Oklahoma City metro area
spoke to more than 100 attendees about disability-related issues. The feedback from this
event from both candidates and attendees was outstanding. Several candidates had
attended previous forums and felt this one was the best. Consumers were well informed
as evidenced by the questions asked of candidates. Prior to the event, candidates were
provided information on current disability issues, as well as, 2010 US Census
information regarding Oklahomans with disabilities. Candidates valued the event by
expressing a desire to receive future invitations. They recognized the importance in
communication with this constituency group on disability related issues. The ORC is
happy to partner with these consumer advocacy groups.

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 continue to attend the Statewide Independent Living Council
    quarterly meetings, Governor’s Council on Workforce & Economic Development, quarterly
    meetings with DRS Administrators and bi-monthly meetings with the Director; serves on the
    Assistive Technology Act Program Consumer Advisory Council; and exhibits at various
    disability related events.
  • ORC staff actively participated in the development of the DRS Strategic Plan for activities that
    were outlined in the FY13, which is used to develop the State Plan.
  • ORC responded to requests for information regarding DRS services and consumer complaints,
    referring them to either the appropriate services manager, Client Assistance Program,
    appropriate agency, or support group.
  • ORC conducted ongoing membership recruitment at public events.
  • ORC staff continued to present at the DRS New Employee Academy in an effort for new staff
    to be introduced to the responsibilities of the ORC as outlined in the Rehabilitation Act. These
    efforts have resulted in an increase in requests from counselors wishing to participate as council
    members when there are openings.
  • ORC staff have been involved in the review of the self- employment procedures utilized by the
    agency and the research for best practices across the nation. The goal is to create a more
    efficient and effective program with more successful economic outcomes for consumers, who
    have a self-employment goal.
  • ORC staff presented to classes at both universities that have degrees in the rehabilitation field
    to promote job recruitment for the agency, as well as, providing them with an understanding of
    ORC’s role with the agency.
  • The ORC is a member of the National Rehabilitation Association. Efforts are made to assist in
    the development of the future of rehabilitation within the state of Oklahoma and nationally. We
    assist in the development of both the mid year training conference and the annual training
    conference. Both these events have seen an increase in attendance due to the expertise of
    speakers and an increased desire for more knowledge on the part of rehabilitation professionals.
  • The ORC assisted the Sight Hearing Encouragement Program (SHEP) (advocacy group for
    deaf-blind individuals) and DRS in the development and hosting of the first deaf-blind
    conference themed “You Can Do It”. This event was almost a year in the making from
    conception of December 2011 until full production in October 2012. It began as a dream of
    the SHEP organization; ultimately, many others were included in the final implementation of
    the conference. It was originally developed to be a statewide conference; however, it expanded
    and resulted in a national conference with 9 states represented and more than 200 attendees
    and volunteers from all walks of life. Deaf-blind speakers who had already “done it” both
    nationally and internationally were asked to share how they overcame obstacles and their
    journey to success. This was an outstanding learning experience for everyone involved and a
    great networking opportunity for the disability groups to come together.
  • ORC staff accepted an invitation to serve as a board member for the Oklahomans for Special
    Library Services. This is a non-profit organization whose purpose is to promote the interest and
    welfare of the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped as a cultural,
    educational and recreational asset to the citizens of Oklahoma who are print disabled.

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 learning 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 avoid large budget cuts and able to continue to
serve consumers and support staff development initiatives. The agency had to enact the Order of
Selection to close all Priority Groups, but is regularly removing people from the waiting list. The
ORC is pleased that the agency will be reviewing the budget on a monthly basis to determine if
applicants on the waiting list can be served. 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, except one, 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.

OKLAHOMA REHABILITATION COUNCIL MEMBERS
Jennifer Burnes, State Professional Development
Grant Project Coordinator
Oklahoma State Department of Education
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Marilyn Burr, Member-at-Large
CAP Director
Office of Disability Concerns
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Bill Dunham
Business Development Manager
Amputeee Empowerment, Hanger Clinic
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Glenda Farnum, Chair
Advocate
Warr Acres, Oklahoma

Brenda Fitzgerald, Program Director
Cherokee Nation Vocational Rehabilitation Program
Tahlequah, Oklahoma

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

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

Milissa Gofourth, Program Manager
Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Stillwater, Oklahoma

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

Sterling Krysler, President
Krysler Consulting
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

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

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

Hailey Mathis
Advocate
Tuttle, Oklahoma

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

Gloria Morton
Vocational Services Executive Director
Gatesway Foundation, Inc
Tulsa, Oklahoma

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

Tim Parrish, Member-at-Large
Fleet Administrator, Teppco Oil
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Jeannie Partaka, VR Specialist
Visual Services
Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services
Muskogee, Oklahoma

Perry Sanders, Professor
Langston University
Tulsa, Oklahoma

Oklahoma State University – Department of Wellness Staff

Theresa Hamrick
Program Manager

Linda Jaco, Director
Sponsored Programs

Kimm Dunn
Administrative Assistant

 

 

October 29, 2012
To: Governor Mary Fallin & Acting RSA Commissioner Ed Anthony;

On behalf of the members of the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC), we want to
present you with the 2012 Annual Report. It is the intent of the Council for this report
to 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 FFY12, DRS received 7,580 new applications; 3,399 plans were written in FFY12;
and 3,106 people completed Individual Plans for Employment and were successfully
rehabilitated. The ORC would like to congratulate DRS in meeting the majority of their
standards and indicators for the year. In spite of a poor economy DRS exceeded their goal
for competitive closures. These accomplishments would not have been achieved without
the dedication of the DRS staff, who work 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 included, completion of the FFY13 State Plan; fully
participating in the Re-engineering Committee to review all agency policy; partnering
with DRS on the Consumer Satisfaction Survey; and completing Phase III of the
Comprehensive Needs Assessment that focused on vendor satisfaction. The ORC
partnered with disability advocacy groups to sponsor a legislative candidate forum in the
Oklahoma City area. This forum provided an opportunity for dialogue between
candidates and persons with disabilities.

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.

It is 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,

Glenda Farnum
Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Chair

 

 


Director
Michael O’Brien
Oklahoma Department

Commissioners
of Rehabilitation Services
Ray Kirk, Steve Shelton, Lynda Collins

December 3, 2012

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Members:

The Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services (ODRS) is excited 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 development of Phase III of the Comprehensive Needs Assessment. We also
appreciate their advocacy on state and national policy issues. The council is a critical partner.

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. I also appreciate the council's role at a national level,
providing leadership and partnership with councils across the country. This will be a key role as
new national legislation develops that affects at the. state level.

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


 

 

November 30, 2012

Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council
3535 NW 58th Street, Suite 500
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services

Attention: Theresa Hamrick

Dear Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Members,

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

During the past year ORC has been actively involved in participation in our Policy and Re-engineering
Group, which is improving and streamlining OKDRS Policy and Procedures. The ORC is involved in many
activities including Comprehensive Needs Assessment and development of the State Plan for OKDRS.

The ORC continues to be involved in projects such as Disability Awareness Day and various activities
involving youth in transition services and activities. The ORC just completed it’s second Annual Advocate
Conference and continues to be involved in many outreach projects. The ORC partners with OKDRS to
continuously improve relations with consumers as well as, other groups that provide services to
Oklahomans with Disabilities.

I would like to thank Theresa Hamrick for her work and increased involvement with the Division of
Vocational Rehabilitation. I look forward to working with the ORC next year and many years to come.

Sincerely,

Mark Kinnison, Division Administration
Vocational Rehabilitation

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

 

 

 

November 5, 2012

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 the work the council did on Assistive Technology. 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,

Dr. J. Michael Jones, Administrator
Division of Visual Services

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

 

 


3535 NW 58th Street, Suite 500 . Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73112-4824
(405) 951-3579 V/TTY . (405) 951-3532 Fax
www.okrehabcouncil.org

Cover Photo courtesy of Melinda and Paul Fruendt, Fruendt Farms, Guthrie Oklahoma