As of 10/1/2017, this manual has been retired. For current policies, procedures, and standards for the Texas Workforce Commission Vocational Rehabilitation Division, please refer to the following manuals:

In this manual, references to DARS now refer to TWC. The manual includes both links to public content and links to content available only to staff.

Chapter 8: Training Services

8.1 Academic and Vocational-Technical Training

(Revised 04/10)

8.1.1 Overview

(Revised 05/16)

The consumer can develop his or her knowledge, skills, abilities, and other key attributes through a variety of training strategies. Reasonable and necessary training services must meet identified rehabilitation needs to help the consumer prepare for, enter, engage in, retain, or advance in competitive integrated employment. A full range of training alternatives includes:

Academic training may be obtained through an institution of higher education that:

Vocational and technical training may be provided through an on-the-job training agreement, apprenticeship, or through a vocational or technical school (private or community or junior college) to achieve:

Training in a community rehabilitation program addresses worker readiness, adjustment, and behavior to maximize job-match alternatives.

*Vocational and other training services include personal and vocational adjustment training, books, tools, and other training materials necessary to complete the course of training. DRS will not pay for training or training services in an institution of higher education (universities, colleges, community or junior colleges, vocational schools, technical institutes, or hospital schools of nursing) unless the counselor and consumer make maximum efforts to secure grant assistance, in whole or in part, from other sources to pay for that training.*

*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.48(f)

For qualified individuals, training can include advanced training in a science, technology, engineering, mathematics (including computer science), medicine, law, or a business field. (Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are referred to as "STEM" occupations.)

8.1.2 Monitoring Training

(Revised 12/11)

Monitor all consumers in training to ensure progress toward vocational outcomes.

Keep a current degree plan or similar documentation from the school in the consumer's file. Obtain regular progress reports and/or grades, and maintain contact with the consumer to assess progress toward training goals.

Grades and/or progress reports must be in the case file.

For all training not sponsored by DRS, use grade reports or instructor comments to document objective feedback in the case file.

Place a copy of the appropriate certificate of completion (for example, certification, licensure, degree) in the case file.

8.1.3 Withdrawals or Terminations

When a consumer withdraws or is terminated from training before completing the course, pursue a refund according to the school's policy.

8.1.4 Authorized Services for Training

Optional Fees and Deposits

DRS does not pay optional and/or refundable fees or deposits. DRS may pay for a parking permit on a college campus if

Books and Supplies

You may purchase books and course-related consumable supplies for consumers in college and university training.

You may purchase for consumers in training those books, tools, equipment, and consumable supplies required by vocational or technical courses and not already included in tuition.

Purchase used textbooks when available.

Room and Board Services

You may provide payment for room and board for academic training when this is the best-value decision to support academic training services.

DRS pays for room and board for vocational training only when the training is not available in the consumer's local community.

Out-of-State Schools

Use an out-of-state school when the consumer has made an informed choice to obtain training from a provider located outside Texas, and one of the following applies:

When services are obtained in another state, the rates of payment are governed by the policies and procedures outlined in Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning, 4.4.3 Planning Services in the IPE/Services from Out-of-State Providers.

Other Support Services

Authorize the support services a consumer needs to successfully complete training. The services may include

If there are no published fees for the support service, community rates apply.

Tutorial Services, Fees, and Supplies

Consider providing a tutor only when the consumer has difficulty in formal academic courses or vocational or technical training courses, and use all available school resources before paying for tutorial services.

Make sure the tutor has the necessary experience or skills to teach the consumer. If the school does not assign the tutor, document the tutor's relevant experience or skills in the case record.

Tutoring Fees. DRS does not pay more than $20 an hour for tutorial services. When appropriate, negotiate for a group rate.

Tutoring Supplies. Provide tutoring supplies, as needed.

Remedial or Developmental Courses

If a consumer requires remedial or developmental courses to strengthen academic skills, consider other resources to provide this training, including

If such resources are unavailable or impractical, DRS pays for such courses for a maximum of two semesters.

8.1.5 Academic Training

(Revised 03/08, 07/14, 07/16)

Tuition and Fees

DRS can pay the following amounts for academic training:

The above payment limitations for tuition and required fees do not apply to nondegree training programs.

Exceptions to the limitations for tuition and fees require

Payment of out-of-state tuition at Texas colleges and universities requires the regional director's approval.

Financial Aid

(Revised 02/08)

Consumers entering a college or university must apply for all forms of financial aid, including a Pell Grant, as soon as you and the consumer decide that training is necessary for the consumer to reach the employment outcome. Use available financial aid before spending DRS funds. Use DARS1210, Authority for Exchange of Information, or equivalent, and ensure that documentation is in the case file.

Exception: Student financial assistance that contains a pay-back requirement, such as a loan, is excluded from the financial aid requirement.

Pay for tuition and fees with funds from the Pell Grant. Often the Pell Grant is greater than the tuition and fees and the consumer should be allowed to use this overage for other educational expenses, under the terms of the grant.

If the student has defaulted on a Guaranteed Student Loan, the student will be denied a Pell Grant and other forms of financial aid. Before spending DRS funds for training, the consumer must make a good-faith effort to arrange to repay the defaulted loan, and provide documentation of doing so to DRS.

Tuition Exemption for College Students Who Are Deaf

College tuition and/or fees may be waived for people who are deaf attending any institution of higher education using public funds, if the student

People who are deaf who request academic training are

Sponsorship of Training at Gallaudet and National Technical Institute for the Deaf

Fees and length of training may exceed the limits on college training stated in this section.

When sponsoring a consumer at Gallaudet University or National Technical Institute for the Deaf (NTID), contact the state coordinator for deaf and hard of hearing services at least four weeks before registration. The state coordinator is the only DRS liaison with Gallaudet and NTID.

Payment for consumer transportation is limited to two round-trip tickets by air (coach) per year, or its equivalent. Investigate and document all other available resources before committing DRS funds for this expense.

Minimum Standards for Hours and Grades

To continue receiving DRS sponsorship, the consumer is expected to

The counselor

Required Time Frames for Completion of Academic Training

DRS sponsorship of academic training is limited to the following time frames:

When a consumer has spent time in a college or university before DRS sponsorship, prorate the time frames according to the remaining hours needed to complete the degree. This information can usually be found on the student's individualized degree plan from the college or university. Document the justification for the prorated and agreed upon time frame in both a case note in ReHabWorks and in the consumer's individualized plan for employment (IPE) or IPE amendment.

The IPE must include the entire time line (start and end dates) for the completion of the degree.

Encumbrance Period

Limit each encumbrance to one semester, trimester, quarter, or other school registration period. Include related services (for example, interpreter, attendant care, note takers), whether offered by the school or an outside service provider.

8.1.6 Vocational and Technical Training

(Revised 07/16)

Selecting a Nondegree Vocational or Technical Training Provider

An approved public or private vocational or technical trade school provides nondegree vocational or technical training. Consumers can earn a certificate of completion and, in some cases, a required state certification or license. Provide the training that is reasonable and necessary to reach the employment goal in the IPE.

Use only vocational and technical schools, including correspondence and Internet courses, that

Frequently, the Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) is the licensing entity.

Out-of-state schools that provide training to a consumer must hold an appropriate license in that state. See Chapter 4: Assessing and Planning, 4.4.3 Planning Services in the IPE/Services from Out-of-State Providers).

TWC may also grant exemptions from licensing under the Proprietary Schools Act. However, most of these exemptions do not apply to the training purchased by DRS. Consequently, DRS rarely accepts these exemptions (see 8.1.8 Training by Paid Instructor).

Contact the DRS regional specialist for quality assurance (RPS-QA)

Financial Aid

Consumers entering a vocational or technical school must apply for all forms of financial aid, including a Pell Grant, when available. The consumer must apply for financial aid as soon as you and the consumer decide that training is necessary for the consumer to reach the employment outcome. Use available financial aid before using DRS funds. Use DARS1210, Authority for Exchange of Information, or equivalent, and ensure that documentation is in the case file.

Exception: Student financial assistance that contains a pay-back requirement, such as a loan, is excluded from the financial aid requirement.

Tuition and Fees

(Revised 09/11)

When acceptable to the school, pay for tuition on an hourly basis. Otherwise, follow the school's policies and procedures for tuition payment. Tuition payments are limited to $3,000.

When purchasing vocational or technical training from proprietary schools, document on which basis payment is made:

For vocational or technical training schools that require a single advance payment, pay at the time of enrollment.

Use the "Contract Comments" section in ReHabWorks to obtain additional information regarding

Purchase only approved programs listed in ReHabWorks under the "Proprietary School Course Catalog" link in the vendor details.

Some vocational or technical schools are approved to provide specific health-related tests that are required before the consumer can enter training or complete certification (for example, X-rays and TB tests). The "Contract Comments" section contains information about purchasing those tests from the school.

Contact RHW Provider Services by emailing rhw.providerservices@twc.state.tx.us for assistance when purchasing tests.

Procedures for Sponsoring Vocational or Technical Training

The following procedures apply when providing vocational or technical training. The counselor must:

  1. review with the consumer the school policies and procedures about
    • admission requirements,
    • attendance,
    • payment,
    • refunds, and
    • progress reporting;
  2. purchase only individual classes listed in the school catalog as part of an approved program;
  3. in the service authorization, provide as much detail as possible about the purchase. Document additional details in a case note (for example, actual start and end dates of training, and certificate or degree program);
  4. advise the consumer that he or she is subject to both financial aid and school regulations;
  5. caution the consumer to consult with you before signing any contractual agreement with a school;
  6. encourage the school to submit a monthly report of consumer attendance, participation, and progress. The school may use DARS3407, Training Progress Report, or provide equivalent information However, do not withhold payment if you do not receive the DARS3407, or equivalent information; and
  7. certify that the
    • school's invoice accurately reflects billed charges, and
    • progress report, if received, accurately reflects the services provided.

Minimum Standards for Hours and Grades

To continue receiving DRS sponsorship, the consumer is expected to

The counselor

Required Time Frames for Completion

DRS sponsorship of vocational training must be completed within the time frames established by the institution when a student is enrolled full time.

When a consumer has spent time in the same type of vocational training before DRS sponsorship, pro-rate the time frames according to the remaining hours needed to complete the training. This information can usually be found on the student's individualized degree plan from the school. Document the justification for the prorated and agreed upon time frame in both a case note in ReHabWorks and in the consumer's individualized plan for employment (IPE) or IPE amendment.

The IPE must include the entire time frame (start and end dates) for the completion of the training program.

8.1.7 Correspondence Course Training

Payment must not exceed $300 per course. If payment exceeds this amount, you must document justification.

For college or university correspondence courses requiring a single payment in advance, make this payment at the time of enrollment.

Unless otherwise required, do not pay total tuition in advance. However, you may pay 10 percent initially, then pay for each completed lesson.

The consumer must submit progress reports and/or grade slips for correspondence courses. Place the reports and/or slips in the case file.

8.1.8 Training by Paid Instructor

Arrange paid instructor training for a consumer to acquire a particular work skill from a qualified person. This training can be

Qualifications

The trainer and the course must be

*"Schools offering a course or courses of special study or instruction financed or subsidized by local, state, or federal funds or by any person, firm, association, or agency other than the student involved, on a contract basis and having a closed enrollment, may apply to the commission [TWC] for exemption of such course or courses from this chapter [Chapter 132 — Texas Education Code] and such course or courses may be declared exempt by the commission where the commission finds the course or courses to be outside the purview of this chapter."*

According to TWC regulation, all providers of vocational training that charge a fee, including individuals, are considered "schools."

You must forward any requests to use a school with the above exemption for approval through the appropriate chain of management to the assistant commissioner. This approval is granted individually, and is not a blanket approval for an unlicensed school.

Fees

Negotiate an hourly rate of pay not to exceed prevailing community rates.

8.1.9 On-the-Job Training (OJT)

(Revised 04/10, 07/14, 12/14)

Refer to Chapter 9: Employment Services, 9.7 On the Job Training for information about this service.

8.1.10 Apprenticeship Training

(Revised 12/14)

Refer to Chapter 9: Employment Services, 9.8 Apprenticeship Opportunities for information about this service.

8.2 Other Training

8.2.1 Overview

Other training services may include instruction in

8.2.2 Payment for Services

Base the DRS payment amount on published or current community rates. Do not pay for these services when the consumer is

For further information, consult the regional program specialist.

GED Tests

DRS may pay the cost of GED testing.

Adult Basic Education

The Texas Education Agency or other governmental agency programs provide adult basic education with federal funds. Do not encumber DRS funds for this activity.

8.3 Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Training

(Revised 12/08, 12/14)

8.3.1 Overview of Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Training

(Revised 12/15)

CRP training is designed for consumers who need to develop the skills, attitudes, and behaviors to:

Approved CRP providers contract with DRS to deliver specific CRP services. Each contract identifies which services the provider is approved to provide.

While CRPs may provide other support services, CRP training services include:

Determine which services are reasonable and necessary to help the consumer reach the employment goal documented in the consumer's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

You may provide these services listed above during pre-eligibility trial work. For more information, see Chapter 3: Eligibility, 3.9 Pre-eligibility Trial Work.

*Each provider of vocational rehabilitation services must:

*Based on 34 CFR Section 361.51

Each approved CRP provider is assigned a liaison counselor as the primary communication link between DRS and the CRP. See Chapter 1: Foundations, Roles and Responsibilities, 1.3.5 Responsibilities of the Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) Liaison Counselor.

8.3.2 Referral Procedures

Each CRP develops its own admission policies and procedures. When referring a consumer to a CRP for services, forward to the CRP copies of the following documents:

Each provider must keep a current consumer case record. You must also keep a copy of the referral forms in the consumer's case file.

8.3.3 CRP Services, Outcome, and Procedures

(Revised 9/23/09, 12/14, 05/15, 07/16)

The CRP (also referred to as an employment service provider) may not collect money from a consumer or the consumer's family for any fees for services in excess of the fees DRS pays. If DRS and another resource are paying for a service for the consumer, the total payment must not exceed the fee specified in the DRS Standards for Providers.

A full description of CRP services, including staff qualifications, fees, and required documentation, is in the following sections of the DRS Standards for Providers (SFP), Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services:

A full description of other contracted services, including staff qualifications, fees, and required documentation, is in the following chapters of the DRS Standards for Providers:

For consumers receiving residential post-acute brain injury services, DRS may pay the CRP for up to three therapeutic passes per month. Such passes must be part of the consumer's Individualized Treatment Plan that you approve.

8.4 Work Experience

(Added 05/15, revised 12/15)

Key Terms

Federal Labor Standards Act (FLSA)—The FLSA establishes minimum wage, overtime pay, recordkeeping, and youth employment standards affecting employees in the private sector and in federal, state, and local governments. The employment standards regulate paid work, paid and non-paid internships, and volunteer opportunities. FLSA is administered by the Employment Standards Administration's Wage and Hour Division within the U.S. Department of Labor.

Internship—An experience when an individual explores or gains knowledge and skills required to enter into a particular career field. An internship's primary focus is for an individual to gain skills through "hands-on" training and generally interns have a supervisor who assigns specific tasks and evaluates performance of skills. Internships can be paid or unpaid—though, if they are unpaid, they're usually subject to stringent labor guidelines. In the U.S., federal law mandates that unpaid interns must not benefit the company economically or be used to displace the work done by paid employees. See Fact Sheet #71: Internship Programs Under the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Temporary Paid Work or Temporary Employment—An experience in which the employee is expected to leave the employer within a certain period of time. The employer pays the employee following the Federal Labor Act (FLSA). Employment of DARS consumers that is Temporary Paid Work or Temporary Employment cannot count towards the employment period used to count successful 90-day employment of the individualized plan for employment (IPE) goal that is required for case closure.

Volunteer Opportunity—An experience in which an individual who performs hours of service for a public agency for civic, charitable, or humanitarian reasons, without promise, expectation or receipt of compensation for the services rendered, is considered to be a volunteer during those hours.

Work Experience—An experience that allows the consumer to understand work culture, work expectations and soft and hard skills of a vocation in a "real people doing real work" environment, that is associated with the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. The experience can be set up as a volunteer opportunity, internship or temporary paid work as long as the experience adheres to all state or federal labor laws.

Work Experience Monitoring—When an employment service provider's employee, observes the consumer, makes recommendations for accommodations or supports the consumer needs, and educates the volunteer site employees regarding any disability related issues advocating for and assisting the consumer in communication with business. It is not job skills training or job coaching.

Work Experience Placement—When a consumer gains a volunteer, internship or temporary work experience position in a "real people doing real work" environment, that is associated with the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice.

Work Experience Specialist—The employment service provider's employee who provides Work Experience Placement and Work Experience Monitoring services to DARS consumers. The work experience specialist must maintain the University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion (UNTWISE) Job Placement Credential.

Work Experience Trainer or Job Coach—An employment service provider's employee who provides Work Experience Training or Coaching to help DARS consumers learn and accurately carry out tasks, duties, or responsivities. Work experience trainers or job coaches provide one-on-one training tailored to meet the needs of the DARS consumer participating in the Work Experience and to meet the business's expectations. Work experience trainers or job coaches must maintain the University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion (UNTWISE) Job Skills Training or Job Coaching Credential.

Overview

The goal of work experience is to provide consumers with experience in a "real people doing real work" environment involving work that is consistent with the consumer's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. Work experience is an important resource to include in a consumer's résumé when he or she is ready to pursue competitive, integrated long-term employment. It also is helpful for students who may be exploring options and seeking skills for employment.

Work experience services are purchased from employment services providers when a consumer needs more training and support than DARS and/or other supports can provide. A consumer's work experience can be in a volunteer, internship, or temporary-short-term paid work setting that meets the consumer's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) goals.

Each work experience may not be longer than 12 weeks.

When an a single work experience needs to exceed the 12 week time limit to meet the consumer's individualized needs, the counselor must document the justification for the extension in a case note and obtain approval by the area manager. The case note must include the goals to be achieved and the number of additional weeks that are needed to meet the consumer's needs. The area manager must document the required approval in a case note.

Work experience can be used as a tool for completing trial work, if a consumer is in pre-eligibility trial work. The specifications for Trial Work-Work Experience must be used.

Federal requirements for trial work that must be achieved via work experiences include:

8.4.1 Work Experience Services provided by an Employment Service Provider

See the Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.6 Work Experience for services that can be purchased from employment services providers. For work experience service fees provided by employment service providers, see the fee schedule in Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.1 Fees.

8.4.2 Work Experience Services provided by a Nontraditional Provider

Overview

A nontraditional provider is a person who is not currently an approved provider with a bilateral contract and who is in a position to help a particular consumer achieve the goals required for the consumer to meet the employer's job performance expectations. A nontraditional provider may request to become an approved provider with a bilateral contract when an open enrollment is available.

A nontraditional work experience specialist may be used when:

(See the guidance document that addresses "Purchasing Job Coaching Services from Non-Traditional Providers" for more information.)

Agreement with Nontraditional Provider

DARS must explain the following to the nontraditional provider:

If the nontraditional provider agrees, have regional office staff request that the nontraditional work experience specialist be set up as a vendor.

Procedures

Use the following procedures each time you need to issue or change a service record (SR) or service authorization (SA) using the nontraditional provider, after provider setup is completed:

Counselor

  1. requests that regional office staff authorize linking a provider to nontraditional work experience placement or work experience monitoring specification.

Regional Office Staff Members

  1. request that the Central Office (CO) staff link the provider to the nontraditional work experience placement or work experience monitoring specification; and
  2. inform the counselor that the provider is linked.

Counselor or Rehabilitation Services Technician (RST)

  1. issues or changes the needed SR or SA for a specific consumer ensuring that the detailed description specification remains on the SR or SA;
  2. enters any additional information related to the work experience placement or work experience monitoring services such as goals or skills to be required of the nontraditional work experience to the end of the detailed description specification in ReHabWorks; and
  3. informs the regional staff when the SR or SA is completed.

Regional Office Staff

  1. asks the Central Office (CO) staff to remove the specification link to the provider.

8.4.2.1 Work Experience Placement by Nontraditional Provider Service Description

Use the Service Description/Scope, Procedures, Outcomes Required for Payment and Provider Guidance Tools sections found in the Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.6.1 Work Experience Placement

Note: The sections titled Staff Qualifications and Fee Schedule in the Standards for Providers Work Experience Placement do not apply to nontraditional service providers.

The basic fee schedule for work experience placement services by nontraditional work experience specialist is negotiated up to $440.00 per consumer.

8.4.2.2 Work Experience Monitoring by Nontraditional Provider Service Description

Use the Service Description/Scope, Procedures, Outcomes Required for Payment and Provider Guidance Tools sections found in the Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.6.2 Work Experience Monitoring.

Note: The sections titled Staff Qualifications and Fee Schedule in the Standards for Providers Work Experience Placement do not apply to non-traditional service providers.

The basic fee schedule for work experience monitoring services by nontraditional work experience specialist is negotiated up to $120.00 per consumer.

8.4.2.3 Work Experience Training/Coaching by Nontraditional Provider Service Description

Use the Service Description/Scope, Procedures, Outcomes Required for Payment and Provider Guidance Tools sections found in the Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.6.3 Work Experience Training and Coaching.

Note: The sections titled Staff Qualifications and Fee Schedule in the Standards for Providers Work Experience Placement do not apply to nontraditional service providers.

The basic fee schedule for work experience training and coaching services by a nontraditional work experience specialist is negotiated up to $22.00 per hour per consumer for an individual and $11.00 per hour per consumer in a group. There may be no more than four consumers in a group.

8.4.3 Work Experience provided by a Transition Educator Services Provider

Overview

The transition educator service provider is a person who:

The transition educator services provider is set-up as a vendor by following the steps below.

DRS staff members must explain the following to the transition educator service provider when establishing an agreement with respect to:

If the person agrees, have regional office staff members request that the transition educator service provider be set-up as a vocational adjustment trainer vendor.

Transition educator service providers are set up as work experience specialists for one year.

For the transition educator service provider, use the Service Description/Scope, Procedures, Outcomes Required for Payment as described in the service authorization.

The fees for each service provided by a transition educator provider or work experience specialist are shown in the table below.

Service Fee
Work Experience Placement $600.00
Work Experience Monitoring $165.00
Work Experience Training or Coaching Individual Negotiated up to $30.00 per hour
Work Experience Training or Coaching Group Negotiated up to $15.00 per hour

8.5 Vocational Adjustment Trainings (VAT) for Work Readiness

8.5.1 Overview

Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) for Work Readiness includes services to help a consumer learn and adjust to the daily workplace routine. These services will allow a consumer to develop the competencies and essential skills necessary to function successfully on the job and in the community.

Work Readiness Services are designed to:

Work Readiness Services can be purchased when a consumer needs more assistance than DARS staff members can provide directly to help the consumer develop specific skills or complete specific tasks before the consumer begins the job search. Work Readiness Services should be purchased more than once only if doing so is necessary to ensure that the consumer has the training and support to be successful. When purchasing a Work Readiness Service more than once is necessary to meet the consumer's individualized needs, complete DARS3472, Contracted Service Modification, to request a contract exception. For more information about contract services modification, refer to Chapter 17: Purchasing, 17.4.8 Exceptions to Contracts.

The DARS3121, Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) Work Readiness Training Referral, and a service authorization must be completed and sent to the provider to initiate any of the VAT Work Readiness Training Services.

When providing Work Readiness Services to groups, students with disabilities (ages 22 and younger) should not be in a group with adult participants (ages 23 and older).

Absences from VAT

The vocational adjustment trainer must notify the counselor of any consumer's absence(s) from VAT. After the counselor is notified, the counselor must contact the consumer to discuss the absence and determine what, if any, adjustments should be made to the training schedule and/or to the IPE goals so that the consumer continues to make progress towards his or her employment goals.

Payment Notes

Payment for Work Readiness Services is made only when all deliverables for the service are completed and documented.

Vocational Adjustment Training for Work Readiness describes an array of services that can be provided in many settings by a variety of vendors. While the service providers will typically be Community Rehabilitation Programs, the Nontraditional services and Transition Educator services do not require contractual relationships.

Refer to the following links in the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services for more information about VAT Specific Service Definitions and Scope of Work for each work readiness service:

8.5.2 Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) for Work Readiness provided by an Employment Service Provider

Refer to the Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.8 (A) Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) Initiated Before July 10, 2015, and completed before September 1, 2015, and 2.8 (B), Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) for Work Readiness Initiated After May 27, 2015. For Vocational Adjustment Training for Work Readiness Fees provided by Employment Service Providers, refer to the fee schedule in the DRS Standards for Providers, 2.1 Fees.

8.5.3 Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) for Work Readiness provided by a Transition Educator Services Provider

Overview

A transition educator service provider is a person who:

The transition educator services provider is set up as a vendor by following the steps below:

Step 1: DRS staff members must explain the following to the transition educator service provider when establishing an agreement:

Step 2: If the person agrees, have the regional office staff request that the transition educator service provider be set up as a vocational adjustment trainer vendor.

Transition educator service providers are set up as vocational adjustment trainers for one year.

For a transition educator service provider, use the Service Description/Scope, Procedures, and Outcomes Required for Payment, as described in the service authorization (SA).

The fees for each VAT service provided by a transition educator provider or vocational adjustment trainer are as follows:

Service Fee
Disability Disclosure Training $548.00
Money Smart—A Financial Training $822.00
Soft Skills to Pay the Bills—Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success $548.00
Public Transportation Training—Individual $30.00 per hr.
Public Transportation Training—Group $15.20 per hr.
Exploring the "You" in Work $274.00
Soft Skills for Work Success $411.00
Entering the World of Work $274.00
Preparing for the Job Search—For Students with Disabilities Only $548.00

8.5.4. Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) for Work Readiness provided by a Nontraditional Provider

Overview

A nontraditional provider is a person who is not currently a contracted provider and is in a position to help a particular consumer to achieve the goals required to meet the employer's job performance expectations.

A nontraditional vocational adjustment trainer may be used when services are needed in an area with few or no providers available for specific VAT for Work Readiness services. The nontraditional provider is established as a vendor following the steps below:

Step 1: The DARS counselor must explain the following to the potential nontraditional provider when establishing an agreement:

Follow the procedures below, as applicable:

Step 2: The DARS counselor summarizes the details of the discussion and the potential vendor's response in an email to the regional office.

Procedures

After provider set up is completed, use the following procedures each time you need to issue or change a service record (SR) or service authorization (SA) using the nontraditional provider.

Counselor

  1. requests that the regional office staff authorize linking a provider to nontraditional Vocational Adjustment Training for Work Readiness specific service specification(s).

Regional Office Staff

  1. requests that the central office staff link the provider to the Nontraditional Vocational Adjustment Training for Work Readiness specifications; and
  2. informs the counselor that the provider is linked.

Counselor or RST

  1. issues or changes the needed SA for a specific consumer ensuring that the specification description is appropriately customized and detailed in the service record so that it is reflected on the SA;
  2. enters all additional information related to the Vocational Adjustment Training for Work Readiness specific service(s) to be required of the nontraditional vocational adjustment trainer for Work Readiness when providing the service(s) to the end of the detailed description specification in ReHabWorks; and
  3. informs the regional office staff when the SA is completed.

Regional Office Staff

  1. asks the DARS central office staff to remove the specification link to the provider.
  2. For a nontraditional service provider, use the Service Description/Scope, Procedures, Outcomes Required for Payment as described in the SA.
  3. The fees for each VAT service provided by nontraditional service providers are as follows:
Service Fee
Disability Disclosure Training $411.00
Money Smart—A Financial Training $616.50
Soft Skills to Pay the Bills—Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success $411.00
Public Transportation Training—Individual $22.50 per hr.
Public Transportation Training—Group $11.40 per hr.
Exploring the "You" in Work $205.50
Soft Skills for Work Success $308.25
Entering the World of Work $205.50
Preparing for the Job Search—For Students with Disabilities Only $411.00

8.5.5 Money Smart - A Financial Education Training

Money Smart - A Financial Education Training, can be provided via two methods.

8.5.6 Temporary Learning Experiences-For Pre-Employment Training Services (Pre-ETS) consumers only

(Revised 05/16)

Service Description

Temporary Learning Experience includes camps, workshops, conferences, or other types of events that can help a student with a disability gain or enhance knowledge, skills, and abilities related to improving work readiness and/or development of work related interest and goals. Temporary Learning Experience may not exceed 13 weeks. The cost limit per fiscal year for the Temporary Learning Experiences is $5,000. All Temporary Learning Experience sessions must be pre-approved by the DRS-CSS by email submission to the DARS Pre-ETS mailbox (pre-ets@twc.state.tx.us). Approvals with be granted via email from the Pre-ETS mailbox, and field staff members should include this approval in the consumer's ReHabWorks case documentation.

Procedures

  1. The counselor must provide a detailed description of the learning experience session that includes, at a minimum, the purpose, goals, length, and cost of the Temporary Learning Experience. In addition, a DARS1020, DARS Substitute W-9 and Direct Deposit Form, must be completed for the vendor involved if he or she has not previously served DARS consumers.
  2. The counselor must write a brief summary justifying how the Temporary Learning Experience supports the achievement of the consumer's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) goals. The summary should relate to the areas included in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) definition of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS).

    Below are the areas included in the WIOA definition of Pre-ETS:

    Consumers will gain information and skills about:

    • job exploration-through self-assessment or other methods, examining the labor market in their geographic area, exploring different career areas and what those jobs entail;
    • opportunities for post-secondary training-they may learn more about specific post-secondary programs in their areas of interest, financial aid, or the skills necessary to be successful in post-secondary training;
    • job readiness skills training to develop social and independent living skills-this includes, but is not limited to, the soft skills necessary to be successful at work, including knowing how to dress and behave appropriately, how to complete a job application, how to complete a résumé, and any skills related to independent living that would support an individual in being more successful at work (dress and hygiene, cooking meals, using electronic reminders (alarm clock, calendar) to be on time, and how to use transportation to get to and from work;
    • self-advocacy instruction-learning how to stand up for yourself in a socially-appropriate way, learning how to contribute to group discussions and decisions and feel heard, building self-esteem and a general sense of self-worth.
  3. The counselor submits the detailed description of the experience and the justification of how the Temporary Learning Experience supports the achievement of the consumer's IPE goals to the DARS PRE-ETS mailbox. Submit this request no later than six weeks before the Temporary Learning Experience.
  4. After DRS-Consumer Services Support (CSS) has authorized the Temporary Learning Experience request, DRS-CSS will establish the Temporary Learning Experience as a vendor and notify the counselor.
  5. If Temporary Learning Experience is not authorized, the counselor will be notified through the Pre-ETS mailbox.

8.5.7 JobTIPS Student online program

JobTIPS Student is an online program that offers real-world examples and assistance to teens and adults transitioning to the workplace. It helps them to find and keep a job. JobTIPS Student can be purchased to assist consumers.

JobTIPS Student online program:

JobTIPS Student online program core sections include:

DARS can purchase a license for a consumer to access these online programs.

8.5.8 MyPlan.com

MyPlan.com is a resource which can be used to help consumers make better-informed decisions regarding their education and career plans. The MyPlan.com website will help consumers to explore their options and support more effective planning based on being better informed concerning potential college, career and major choices. The MyPlan.com site provides tools and information about career profiles, career videos, salary data, college profiles, majors and degree data, financial aid, career assessments, and specific careers. For information about MyPlan.com, go to http://www.myplan.com/.

Much of MyPlan.com is free; however, DARS can purchase a subscription for a consumer to gain access to the subscription assessment portion, which is not free for individual consumers, as appropriate.

8.6 Environmental Work Assessment (EWA)

(Added 8/3/2015)

8.6.1 Overview of the Environmental Work Assessment

Individuals with developmental disorders (DD) can be affected strongly by their environments. These individuals have varying levels of abilities that are dependent on environmental factors such as a slow versus a fast work pace, loud versus quiet surroundings, or outdoors versus indoors. The Environmental Work Assessment (EWA) focuses on the consumer's response to the variables in a work environment, not on how the consumer performs a task.

The EWA identifies conditions in a work environment that affect the consumer's ability to function at his or her full potential. Environmental factors to which the consumer responds most favorably must be considered when determining the most appropriate work environment for the consumer. For example, does a loud, busy environment reduce the consumer's ability to follow directions? Does an outdoor job that requires heavy lifting improve his or her ability to focus?

8.6.2 Key Terms for the Environmental Work Assessment (EWA)

For more information about key terms for the EWA, see the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.13.1 Key Terms for the Environmental Work Assessment.

8.6.3 Referrals for the Environmental Work Assessment (EWA)

The counselor makes a referral to the provider using DARS1876, EWA Referral.

If the counselor has a concern or question about the benefits of an EWA, the counselor reviews the situation with the Regional Point of Contact (RPOC) for the developmental disorder team.

After the case has been reviewed with the RPOC, if the counselor or the RPOC has questions or concerns, contact the central office developmental disorders program specialist.

For more information about referrals for the EWA, see Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.13.3 Referrals for the Environmental Work Assessment.

8.6.4 Description of the Environmental Work Assessment (EWA)

For more information about the description of the EWA, see Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.13.4 Description of the Environmental Work Assessment.

8.6.5 Fee for the Environmental Work Assessment (EWA)

For more information about the fees for the EWA, see Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.13.5 Fee for the Environmental Work Assessment.

8.6.6 Provider Qualifications for the Environmental Work Assessment (EWA)

For more information about the provider qualifications for the EWA, see Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.13.6 Provider Qualifications for the Environmental Work Assessment (EWA).

8.6.7 Documentation for the Environmental Work Assessment (EWA)

For more information about the documentation requirements for the EWA, see Standards for Providers Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services, 2.13.7 Documentation for the Environmental Work Assessment.

8.7 Project SEARCH

(Added 12/15)

8.7.1 Overview

Project SEARCH is an international initiative that supports partnerships between businesses (employers), local school districts, vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies, and other disability organizations. Project SEARCH promotes successful long-term employment of VR consumers in stable, meaningful, and competitively compensated jobs by using a school-to-work internship approach for consumers with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD).

The program takes place in business settings where immersion in the workplace facilitates the teaching and learning process as well as the acquisition of employability and marketable work skills. Project SEARCH consumers participate in three internships to explore a variety of career paths. The consumers work with a team that includes their family and the partnering agencies to create an employment goal and support the consumers during this important transition from school to work.

8.7.2 Project SEARCH Key Terms

For definitions of the following key terms as they related to Project SEARCH, refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.2 Key Terms.

8.7.3 Project SEARCH Phases

Project SEARCH is composed of three phases.

Phase 1: Consumers enroll in internships that allow them to learn employment-related hard and soft skills in a real-life work environment. They attend daily classroom instruction that the local school district provides and that follows the Project SEARCH curriculum.

Phase 2: Consumers are placed in or find competitive integrated employment that earns the prevailing wage in the industry and that allows them to use the skills they have learned during their Project SEARCH internships. The job must be consistent with the services and goals outlined in the consumer's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE).

Phase 3: Consumers receive retention services as needed for ongoing support after the consumer has been employed for 90 days and the DARS case is closed. The long-term support organization provides retention services during this phase.

Project SEARCH services are provided through a collaborative process in which the Project SEARCH team—the DARS provider, host business, school district, long-term support organization, and DARS counselor—work together to help the consumer achieve the goals of the internship and placement. A memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Project SEARCH team members outlines the roles, relationships, and responsibilities.

The Project SEARCH team interviews and selects a DARS community rehabilitation provider (CRP) to work with DARS consumers at the host business site. The interview is a prerequisite to being eligible for a Project SEARCH service contract that allows DARS to purchase services from the provider.

DARS purchases the Asset Discovery Assessment for Project SEARCH consumers before school starts. Services include worksite-training for up to three rotations during the school year and end with successful job placement.

The Project SEARCH team interviews and selects the consumers who participate. DARS purchases services for consumers who participate in Project SEARCH and documents the services in each consumer's IPE.

8.7.4 Steps to Establish a Project SEARCH Site

To start a Project SEARCH program, DARS staff members first ensure that the following partners agree to start a program:

The team may begin without an identified host business or community rehabilitation provider (CRP). DARS does not select the CRP. The team selects the CRP based on an interview process with all the team members. DARS schedules interviews for interested CRPs that have a current DARS contract.

The national Project SEARCH office is contacted to request to start a program. Project SEARCH requires that a local partner hold a licensing agreement with its office, stating that the team will follow its model. The school district typically holds the license; DARS does not hold this license.

Project SEARCH requires a fee to start a program. Either the school district covers the fee, or local community partners raise the funds. These funds pay for the team's training on the Project SEARCH model.

Once the national Project SEARCH office approves the license, it schedules training for the team. After the formal training from the national office begins, the office supports the team by setting up monthly meetings for planning and maintaining the program. While the local school district and the CRP are involved in the daily operations of the program, the DARS staff members assigned to the team must maintain regular communication via email or conference calls in addition to the monthly planning meetings.

8.7.5 Project SEARCH Fees

Project SEARCH Benchmark service authorizations to the community rehabilitation provider (CRP) may be issued using only Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) funds.

Planning is important to ensure that the appropriate amount of money is budgeted for each benchmark.

For the fee structure provided to CRPs, refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.3 Fees.

8.7.6 Intern Selection Process

DARS must receive the name of students that complete a Project SEARCH application so they can begin the application process if they are not already receiving DARS services.

The Project SEARCH team interviews the applicants using a rubric system to determine who will be offered an internship at the host business. When DARS has not yet determined a student's eligibility for DARS services, the student may be selected for Project SEARCH pending the DARS eligibility decision.

8.7.7 Asset Discovery

DARS consumers must have been determined eligible for DARS services to begin Asset Discovery.

The service authorization for the Asset Discovery phase should be issued over the summer to allow the community rehabilitation provider (CRP) time to meet with all the consumers. This service should be completed by August 31.

For additional information about Asset Discovery, see the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.4 Asset Discovery.

8.7.8 Worksite Training

Project SEARCH consumers must have an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) indicating their participation in the program and all additional services the counselor approves for participation (for example, transportation assistance and purchase of uniforms).

Since each Project SEARCH team determines the length of the rotations at the host business (8-12 weeks), it is important that the team create a calendar showing when rotations begin and end. This ensures that the rehabilitation services technician (RST) and vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) know when to issue service authorizations to the community rehabilitation provider (CRP).

For additional information regarding the Worksite Training, refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.5 Worksite Training Services.

8.7.9 Job Placement

The DARS3373, Project SEARCH Job Placement Services Plan, must be developed by the end of the third rotation or at any time during the rotations that the team determines that job placement opportunities are available to the consumer because of skills gained in the internships. Once the DARS3373 is complete, the counselor issues the Benchmark A service authorization for job placement services.

More than one service authorization may be open at the same time for internship rotations and job placement. The vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) attends the monthly steering committee meetings and the employment planning meetings each rotation to ensure that he or she is in regular communication with the Project SEARCH team and knows when service authorizations will be needed.

Job coaching, if needed, is included in the benchmark payment and must not be billed separately.

For additional information about the Job Placement phase, refer to the DRS Standards for Providers Chapter 9: Project SEARCH, 9.6 Project SEARCH Job Placement and Retention Services.