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2013 Annual Report

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OKLAHOMA REHABILITATION COUNCIL - 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:

  • 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 Department of Wellness 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 Department of Wellness hires, supervises, and evaluates a full time Program Manager position for the daily operations of the council and a part time administrative assistant.  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 or (405) 951-3532 Fax
www.okrehabcouncil.org
thamrick@okdrs.gov
 

YEAR IN REVIEW

COUNCIL STRUCTURE

During 2013, the ORC fulfilled all membership requirements of Section 105 of the Rehabilitation Act with appointments by the Governor, with one appointment pending approval from the Governor’s Council on Workforce and Economic Development. The council had 17 members, 3 being ex-officio nonvoting members from DRS. Of the voting members, the council had 64% 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 scheduled four quarterly meetings during FFY13 and held an annual strategic planning meeting but only 3 meetings took place due to unforeseen factors. Meeting dates were:

November 15, 2012  (cancelled)
The November meeting was to be held during the RSA on-site monitoring visit.  The agency asked if we would cancel due to so many staff attending the RSA meeting.  
February 16, 2012  (cancelled)
This meeting had to be cancelled due to an ice storm across the state of Oklahoma.  
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 as outlined in the ORC Strategic Plan.

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

Chairperson – Tim Parrish

  • 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 agency kept the SRC informed regarding  waiting lists. The waiting list numbers were reviewed at each quarterly meeting.  
  • 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 much involvement with the DSU on the Comprehensive Statewide  Assessment. The DSU divided its Comprehensive Statewide Assessment into three separate phases. Phase I (FFY10) surveyed closed cases; Phase II (FFY11) surveyed open cases.  Phase III (FFY12) developed and sent a survey to vendors and third party stakeholders.  In collaboration with the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council, the DSU divisions of vocational rehabilitation and visual services continue to incorporate findings from all three phases into the state strategies and priorities.
  • The plan for the next three year comprehensive statewide needs assessment, fiscal year’s 2014 – 2016 is the following:
    • FFY14 - The DSU and SRC will review and analyze the following reports and provide recommendations to the director and strategic planning teams:
      • “Creating a Proactive System to Help Oklahoma Businesses Stay Strong and Grow,” 2012
      • “The Governor’s Council on Workforce and Economic Development, Building Blocks for an Employer – Responsive Workforce System,” 2011
    • FFY15 - The DSU and SRC will review and analyze the following report and provide recommendations to the director and strategic planning teams:
      • The State Employment Leadership Network – Oklahoma Findings and Observations Report.
    • FFY16 – The DSU and SRC will review and analyze the following report and provide recommendations to the director and strategic planning teams:
      • The DSU (DVR/DVS) open case customer satisfaction survey that is conducted in the fall of each year.

POLICY AND LEGISLATIVE COMMITTEE

Chairperson – Brenda Fitzgerald

  • 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 2013 at the State Capitol.  Committee members served as legislative guides by providing direction and assistance to participants with over 700 attendees. This increase was more than 100 over the previous  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) 2013 spring conference during legislative session visits.  They also shared this information with state legislators at the Disability Awareness Day event.  
  • ORC staff and members participated in the CSAVR 2013 spring conference in Bethesda, Maryland, as well as, the 2012 fall conference in San Diego, California. 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. Last year the primary focus 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.  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 DSU policy.
  • The SRC partnered with the DSU Re-Engineering Committee in the redevelopment of the policies addressing self-employment. A national search was conducted to review other state’s policies and practices. Together, we developed several tools to assist the consumer in understanding the actual cost of doing business as well as resources to assist in the formulation of the business plan. It was the goal of this committee to develop a system to enhance understanding for both the client and the counselor when self-employment was desired as an employment outcome.
  • The SRC developed a letter addressing the value of the current commission appointment structure for the DSU that encompasses an individual who possesses expertise in a disability field while allowing for accountability to the Governor and Legislature, as well as the DSU, and also providing added value for consumers.   

The ORC sought community input from program participants, advocates, employers, educators, and other stakeholders on proposed policy changes through three public hearings. They were co-hosted by DRS and the ORC on February 4, 2013 in Oklahoma City, February 5, 2013 in Tulsa, and February 6, 2013 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 consumer.  

Policy was posted on the DRS website to assist clients and other stakeholders with easier access to this information and provide public comments. Many of the proposed policy changes for 2013 have minor changes to clarify language for both staff and consumers.  

  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services Definitions and Base Eligibility Requirement for Vocational Rehabilitation Services.  
    These policies replace the old disability language of mental retardation with current correct and people first language of intellectual disability.   
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services Purchase of Services and Goods for Individuals with Disabilities  
    This policy change removes verbal bid options, which had to be followed up with a written bid, but does accept faxed or email bids. This provides more verification of bids in the case record.
  • Vocational Rehabilitation and Visual Services Placement.
    This policy addresses duplicative provisions in the policy and is removed. Language is added to indicate the range of job placement services that can be provided to clients.  

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

Chairperson – Connie Lake

  • The assigned liaison for this committee was the DRS Project Coordinator for the Vocational Rehabilitation Division.
  • The ORC believes the newly developed Memorandum of Understanding completed with the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Services will increase services for veterans to be maximized in order to facilitate their return to work.
    • Oklahoma Department of Veterans Affairs
      • The DSU has - a Veterans Outreach Coordinator on staff to work with community groups and programs related to serving veterans.  This coordinator is also a veteran and understands the complex systems of the VR and Veterans systems; and is the contact person for DSU personnel to answer questions regarding Veterans benefits, education and rehabilitation issues.
      • The coordinator assists in facilitating participants through both systems in a timely manner to maximize resources of both organizations. At least four times per year, presentations are made to Veterans organizations across the state of Oklahoma to explain what the DSU does and how it can be an asset for Veterans to enhance their abilities to go to work. 
      • Final agreements and contracts have been coordinated to have Veteran Call Centers established. These centers will assist Older Veterans, mostly who are blind or legally blind, to work from their homes. If a Veteran is having difficulty getting to the person they need to talk to from VA or needs assistance in finding an answer to a question, they can call these centers and get assistance. 
      • The DSU has been an integral part in putting together what is meant to be the model for this type of project nationwide.
  • The ORC effectively partnered with DRS in the development of the FY14 State Plan including developing the goals and priorities for the agency. The ORC co-hosted public hearings on May 14, 2013 in Lawton; May 15, 2013 in Tulsa; and May 16, 2013 in Oklahoma City on the State Plan.  Flyers were developed and mailed to increase awareness of the agency’s goals and priorities addressed in the state. Comments and recommendations made at public hearings for the FY14 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 effective partnerships is being an invested partner. We are encouraged that DRS continues to grow and expand partnerships with other entities for the betterment of the 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.  
    • Attachment 4.10 Comprehensive System of Personnel Development:
      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:  
      DRS has continued to keep the ORC involved in the Comprehensive Statewide Assessment of the Rehabilitation Needs progress. The ORC appreciates the response update on the findings of the comprehensive statewide assessment from the three phases.  It is our hope that the agency will continue to create opportunities to communicate with, and partner with community rehabilitation providers who serve their consumers.
    • 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. This is evident from consumers waiting to be serviced from the DRS waiting list and keeps Priority Group 1 moving forward and the ability to pull clients from Priority Group 2 as well.  
    • 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 DRS 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. We are encouraged to see updates on the goals and priorities from the DRS strategic plan. The ORC would like to see more progress or updates regarding assistive technology services to consumers. 
    • Attachment 4.11 (d) State’s Strategies and Use of Title 1 Funds for Innovation and Expansion Activities:   
      It is evident that DRS is invested in innovation and expansion by the volume of projects that are conducted  It is the hope of the ORC that these projects have benchmarks and measurable outcomes to ensure that evidence-based projects can be replicated in other areas.  

The goals and priorities for FFY14 have been jointly developed with the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council. DSU participates in regular SRC meetings and subcommittee activities. The SRC also collaborates in drafting and revision of agency policy development, and meets regularly with the DSU Director and DVR/DVS Administrators. Finally, revisions to the state plan were developed jointly, as well as, revision to the specific goals and priorities identified in this section.

In a joint effort with - SRC, the DVR/DVS divisions formed work groups to develop measures and action steps to address the DSU organizational strategic plan goals and - priorities. The Servant Leadership model was the focus in the development of the DSU organizational strategic plan process. The work groups reviewed the findings and recommendations of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment, the findings from the consumer satisfaction survey, and the employee engagement survey. Furthermore, the DSU Director’s annual performance points and expectations were utilized.

The DSU organizational strategic plan is designed for five years. The divisions will address the goals and strategic priorities over the span of these five years.

  • Goals and Priorities for FFY14:
    • Goal 1:  See The Future
    • Goal 2:  Engage and Develop Others
    • Goal 3:  Reinvent Continuously
    • Goal 4:  Value Results and Relationships
    • Goal 5:  Embody the Values

The ORC is committed in continuing to be a full partner with the DSU and offer our cooperation in efforts to meet the goals set in the State Plan.  

  • DRS reported the following FFY13 data to the Commission:
    • 2,241 cases had successful closure
    • 2,072 cases were closed without employment after receiving services
    • 5,786 new applications were received which is down by 24%
    • 3,668 plans were written in the year

Of the reported outcomes of all types, the percentage of each closure type (rounded to the nearest tenth):

    • 17% closed as an applicant (871 applicants)
    • 7% closed from delayed/wait list status (379 clients)
    • 35% closed after eligibility, before services (1,781 clients)
    • 41% closed after services were initiated (2,072 clients)
  • Individual Services by Disability Priority Group
    • Priority Group 1  5,407  38%
    • Priority Group 2  6,869  48%
    • Priority Group 3  1,431  10%

Successful Closures 2,241 vs. Unsuccessful Closures 2,072

    • Average days in application status 36
    • Average months in eligibility 2.3
    • Average months receiving services 29.8
    • Average months in delayed status 5.9
    • Average cost per successful closure $7,440
    • Average cost per unsuccessful closure $4,066
    • The average cost per successful closure increase by 7%
    • The average cost per unsuccessful closure increased by 5%

FY13 Standards and Indicators Information:  

DRS exceeded all Standards and Indicators except for indicator 1.1 which is the number of closed cases with an employment outcome over the previous year’s outcomes. The agency missed this standard by 864 employment outcomes or 28%.  

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.  
On May 7, 2013, 1,500 people were released from Priority Group 1 and 2. On May 8, 2013, Priority Group 1 became open for service. By the end of the FFY13, September 31st, 1,570 applicants have been released from the waiting lists. There were 1,343 applicants in delay status as of October 1, 2013.   

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 2,299 randomly selected individuals who had received vocational rehabilitation services. The survey was returned by 365 individuals with a return rate of 15.9%, which is a considerable decrease from last year of 22.7%.

Two new questions were added to the survey last year 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. The “Keeping Track of your Progress Guide” received 58.6% agreement scores. The “Informed Choice Guide” received 57.5% agreement scores.      

The overall satisfaction rate with VR and VS for FY13 is 79.7%. This score is higher than the overall satisfaction rate documented in the FY12 survey.

When VR and VS are examined individually, overall satisfaction is slightly higher for VS (82.0%) than VR (79.2%).    

Major revisions were made to the primary survey instrument this year. These revisions made statements more specific and removed bifurcated statements. For example, the first seven survey statements now offer respondents the opportunity to respond separately for their current counselor and other staff.  Also, the two statements referencing service providers were expanded to allow respondents to rate services by different types of providers separately. These types of revisions should provide more informative data. However, due to the revisions, trend data is not available for this year’s report.  

Two key findings were on the following questions. Question: “On average, how long does it take staff to return telephone calls or emails?” revealed that 78.9% of the time, telephone calls or e-mails were returned in 3 business days or less on average. Question: “On average, after first contacting your local office, how long does it take to receive an appointment?” revealed 43.3% of the time, clients received an appointment in less than 1 week on average from the time they first contacted their local office.  

At the end of the survey, consumers were provided with a comments section. Comments were provided by 41.6% of respondents. Comments were divided into three categories: 1) Positive, 2) Neutral (including general suggestions for improvement), and 3) Negative Comments. Analysis revealed 45.4% comments were generally positive, 10.5% comments were neutrally stated, and 44.1% were classified as negative.  

Positive Comments praised the DRS staff and contract service providers, services offered, and service provision methods.  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, disappointment regarding slow service provision, as well as, an overall frustration with the inability to obtain gainful employment upon completion of the program.

TRANSITION AND EMPLOYMENT

Chairpersons –Jacki 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 2012 OTI statewide meeting had approximately 350 participants and 26 teams.  
  • This committee completed a project in which a transition version of the “Keeping Track of Your Progress” tool to assist parents and transition age youth to understanding the DRS processes was created. The folder was reviewed by several groups whose focus is transition services. The document was revised with the feedback and ideas received from the review groups. It will be printed and rolled out statewide in the next fiscal year. As with all documents it will be available in alternate formats as well as Spanish and on the website.   
  • 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 2013 to serve as a roadmap to the standing committees for FFY14. 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 & Dr. Nettie Fisher Memorial Scholarship Fund - The ORC partnered with the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Association in hosting the 5th annual golf tournament to fund a scholarship to assist bachelor’s level students at both universities in Oklahoma for students who 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 expanded 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 additional training has been met with outstanding success.  It has also increased requests for state to state mentoring.  

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 FY14, which is used to develop the State Plan.
  • ORC responded to requests for information regarding DRS services and consumer complaints, referring them to the appropriate services manager, Client Assistance Program, appropriate agency, or support group.
  • ORC conducted ongoing membership recruitment at public events.  
  • ORC staff participated in both the DRS Disability Awareness Day at the Capitol and the Oklahoma AgrAbility Day at the Capitol.  
  • ORC staff was invited and participated in several innovation project think tanks to discuss  ‘next steps’ for innovative projects.  
  • ORC staff partnered with the DRS Legislative Assistant to develop materials and letters discussing the impact regarding changes that S1356 will have on consumers served by DRS.  ORC was included on discussions regarding the impact of Sequestration on the DSU.  
  • ORC staff co-presented with the DRS Transition Coordinator at the Spring Consortium State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation Conference and the National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center Capacity Building Institute on the Interagency Collaboration in Transition.  
  • ORC staff regularly attends the DRS Program Manager and Field Coordinator meetings. This enhances their partnership when working with DRS on the Strategic Plan, State Plan and Policy teams.  
  • 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. The ORC has been invited to participate in more committees and activities from field staff as a result of this interaction.
  • 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 and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as Amended. 
  • 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. During this past year as President of the state chapter, membership has increased by 15%.    

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 two of the 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.   

ORC COUNCIL MEMBERS

Joe Cordova

Director (started September 3, 2013)
Department of Rehabilitation Services
Oklahoma City, OK  73112-4824

Sandra Decker  

Education Specialist
Oklahoma Parent Information Center
Kenefic, OK  74748

Bill Dunham

Business Development Manager
Amputee Empowerment Coordinator
Hanger Clinic, Oklahoma Clinics
Oklahoma City, OK 73118

Brenda Fitzgerald

Program Director
Cherokee Nation VR Program
Tahlequah, OK 74465

Cindy Gallup

DHS Child Welfare Specialist II
Stratford, OK 74872

William Ginn  

CAP Director
Office of Disability Concerns
Oklahoma City, OK  73107-2414

Milissa Gofourth

Program Manager
Oklahoma ABLE Tech
Stillwater, OK  74078-2026

Tammie Jones

VS Specialist
Department of Rehabilitation Services
Weatherford, OK  73096-2602

Sterling Krysler

Krysler Consulting
Oklahoma City, OK  73112

Connie Lake

Assistant Vice Chancellor of Workforce & Economic Development
OK State Regents for Higher Education
Oklahoma City, OK  73104-3603

Hailey Mathis

Advocate
Tuttle, OK  73089

Jacki Millspaugh

Director
OK Dept of Mental Health & Substance Abuse
Oklahoma City, OK  73152-3277

Gloria Morton

Vocational Services Executive Director
Gatesway Foundation, Inc.
Broken Arrow, OK 74012

Mike O’Brien

Director (to March, 2013)
Department of Rehabilitation Services
Oklahoma City, OK  73112-4824

Terrisha Osborn   

VR Specialist
Department of Rehabilitation
Oklahoma City, OK 73149

Tim Parrish

Fleet Administrator
Enterprise Products
Oklahoma City, OK  73102-5630

Perry Sanders

Professor
Langston Unviersity - Tulsa
Tulsa, OK 74136-7109

Tina Spence  

Coordinator
Special Education Services
OK State Department of Education
Oklahoma City, OK 73105

 

 

November 15, 2013

To: Governor Mary Fallin & RSA Commissioner Janet LaBreck;

On behalf of the members of the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council (ORC), we want to present you with the 2013 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 voices of many consumers.

During FFY13, DRS received 5,786 new applications; 3,668 plans were written in FFY13; and 2,241 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 reduced budgets and sequestration DRS exceeded their goal for competitive closures. These accomplishments would not have been achieved without the dedication of the DRS staff, who 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 included; completion of the FFY13 State Plan; rollout of the self-employment tools; partnering with DRS on the Consumer Satisfaction Survey; and completing a new plan for the Comprehensive Needs Assessment.

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, Theresa Hamrick, continues to be an active member of the Steering Committee of the National SRC Coalition.

It is an honor and privilege to have served 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 of Rehabilitation Services.

Sincerely,

Tim Parrish, Chair
Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council

 

November 18, 2014

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 has enjoyed another successful year, despite a struggling economic climate, and operating under an Order of Selection by helping 2,241 Oklahomans with significant disabilities get or keep a job! The Agency appreciates the continuous guidance and support the Council provides on key issues. We also appreciate their advocacy on state and national policy issues. The council is a critical partner.

As the new 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,

Joe D. Cordova, Executive Director
Oklahoma Department of Rehabilitation Services


 

November 18, 2013

Dear Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Members:

Thank you for the opportunity to write this letter of support for the Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council. It is my honor and privilege to praise the partnership that continues between the ORC and the Division of Visual Services; this vital partnership truly enhances the lives of those we serve. Without this valuable relationship many of the things that we have accomplished could have simply fallen through the cracks and would have not been carried out.

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 partners with OKDRS to continuously improve relations with consumers as well as other groups that provide services to Oklahomans with disabilities. Your participation in our new self-employment questionnaire tool, rolled out across state to our counselors this past April, helped insure that that effort was a real success.

Moreover, 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 accomplishment, and because of your efforts DRS and ultimately our consumers will certainly be the benefactors.

I look forward with optimism to a long and productive relationship between the Division of Visual Services and the ORC and the bright future it will bring to the thousands of Oklahomans we serve that deserve our very best efforts.

Sincerely,

Paul Adams
Interim Division Administrator
Division of Visual Services

 

November 18, 2013

Dear Oklahoma Rehabilitation Council Members,

I would like to express my sincere appreciation to the Oklahoma Rehabilitation (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 CRC’s in the nation.  

During the past year ORC has been actively involved in participating 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 its 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 Administrator
Vocational Rehabilitation