June 14-15, 2023

SRC Quarterly Meeting Minutes

Wednesday, June 14- Thursday, June 15, 2023

  • June 14, Mandatory Session
  • Gateway Center, Mississippian Room, 1 Gateway Dr. Collinsville, IL 62234
  • 2:30-3:00: Approvals

  • Quorum was not met, voting could not occur to approve June Agenda or March Minutes.
  • 3:00--4:00 DRS Staff and Liaison Reports

  • Chief of Staff- Andy Losasso
  • Chief Losasso provided an update on hiring. We currently have 160 vacancies, which is down from 180 in April. Requisitions have tripled with the bulk being in Field and blind services. Chief is working on handout for SRC to provide more consistent delivery of information Residential schools just held graduations. Parent and Infant camp "opening doors" is currently underway at Illinois
  • Bureau Highlights

  • Bureau of Customer & Community Services (BCCS)--Erik Hansen, Erik reported we currently have 4000 CIE placements just shy of our 4500 goal for FY23. This is down 5% from this time last year. We have 30K vocational rehabilitation customers and 42K Home services customers. WE are currently serving 3500 Colbert class members. Field offices are open for reception,. Counselors are meeting customers in the field. MOU with ISBE is being finalized. DRS is working in collaboration with UIUC to develop a transition guide; Board member Erin volunteered to review. Guide should be finalized in the coming months-Kristin
  • Wagner- TCRS Contracts

  • Kristen reported hiring new staff and adjusting roles and responsibilities of her team. The team is analyzing the billing process to determine where delays are happening and developing a plan of action to remedy
  • Bureau of Support Services (BSS)-- Cassie Laird

  • Cassie provided Fiscal highlights. DRS currently has 400 contracts, has spent $31M to date and has a contract utilization rate of 72%. Contract utilization is in line with previous year-end utilization which averages 80%. DRS exceeded the $1B mark in total allocation. Cassie provided the council with a full report comparing FY 23 funding to FY 24. Cassie announced Guidehouse Inc as being awarded the Bid for our adult rate setting RFP. DRS is applying for a 5year DIF grant opportunity in collaboration with ISBE and CIL. Cassie further defined appropriation as the authority to spend, not actual cash.
  • Bureau of Engagement & Support Services (BESS)--Christi Pean

  • NTID- working collaboratively to connect customers and set up a task force to see how to better support VR customers. They are developing a apprenticeship toolkit in partnership with UIUC. SS Providers can provide Auditory Cues to assist individuals with independent living and employment.
  • Bureau of Planning & Strategic Management (BPMS)--Sybil Nash

  • Announced the addition of new staff: QA manager and Auditing Manager along with two data specialists. DRS is currently doing a refresh of computer equipment to ensure DRS staff has current technology to complete their work.
  • Bureau of Customer and Community Support for Blind (BCCBS)-- Kim Borowicz

  • Kim reports ICRE-Wood welcomed 31 new customers to their three month summer program. Field staff are supporting 3, 198 individuals and have placed 176. Blind Vendors held an election on May 5 to select new committee members. Working with a contractor to work with grants
  • Blind Services Planning Council (BSPC)

  • Nothing to report
  • Statewide Independent Living Council (SILC)--Shelly Richardson

  • A transportation form was disseminated throughout DRS counselors and she wishes for individuals to continue sending their transportation stories so she can gather evidence to illustrate the transportation problem across the state. Her next meeting is July 12.
  • Equip for Equality-Megan Sorey

  • EFE has created an ASL brochure in collaboration with Chicago Institute for the deaf. They will have a read aloud version in English with captions. They have resolved several cases that involve secondary education and payment for educational services Working with DRS to identify systemic issues and working to increase access with those leaving incarceration
  • Policy Updates--Robyn Lewis
    4:00-4:30 Old Business (time permitting)

  • The Illinois Department of Human Service Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) subcontracted with Craig Williams Finance and Management Group (CWFM Group) to conducted concurrently: 2023 Satisfaction with Customer Service and 2023 Needs Assessment Survey. Distributed 180,000 emails; 21,062 responses.
  • Customer Satisfaction Survey Summary:

  • The Satisfaction with Customer Service Survey Results were overall positive. Respondents indicated they like the services received. The Division of Rehabilitation Services provides unbiased services to all "special populations," age groups, gender, and disability types across the state of Illinois. The demographic data reveals a potentially disproportionate response to the survey which may indicate a disproportionate engagement with DRS for services based on race demographics. Gaining access to services and the receipt of services are two vastly different experiences. African American sector accesses the Division of Rehabilitation Services at disproportionately higher rate than larger minority groups (Hispanic/Latino) within the state. The Satisfaction with Customer Service Survey greatest learning is the largest percentage of all respondent populations were not aware of which DRS office aided them in obtaining disability services and support and the corresponding relationship to lower satisfaction scores.
  • Needs Assessment Summary of Strengths

  • Strong Pre-Employment Transition Services (PTS), organizational Website, Leadership Supports, Customer service: Both the Director and the State Rehabilitation Council. The Division was provided licensed access to a solid Customer Service platform in Qualtrics. Provider and Employer groups selected the exact same order for the top three programs with the greatest success: Workplace readiness training: Including social skills training and independent living skills. Work-based learning-Employer paid work experiences: Learning while earning money at a job. Job exploration counselling: Information and guidance on types of job and careers. Both disabled and provider respondent groups identified the following priorities for needed improvements in the "Support Services" area: Transportation: Help getting from home to school or work; Benefits Planning Services: Help to manage Social Security Benefits and plan to begin working.; Assistive Technology Services and Support: Special Equipment and electronic devices to help with reading, speaking, or using a computer. Leadership demonstrates success initiating positive change: e.g., Reorganization of Bureaus and Regions. Leadership is focused on the future and are committed advocates of the disabled. Mature data sets for measuring performance.
  • Needs Assessment Summary of Opportunities

  • Increase engagement with the Hispanic/Latinx minority group. Implement a formal Customer Service program. Leverage potential of the Qualtrics Platform for the customer service program. Develop skills acquisition metrics for the Senior Disabled "special population". Employ workload analytics to assess workflows and staffing numbers.
  • Weighted Priorities

  • Making the referral process easier
    1. Virtual access to counselors
    2. Online access to applications
    3. Cross-training of staff on services provided by the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS)
    4. Information about transition programs on DRS website
    5. Better accessibility to other state workforce programs
    6. Coordinating funding and staffing
    7. Disability awareness training
    8. Increased DRS presence in the Illinois Workforce development Systems
    9. Extended hours at in-person offices
    10. Accessible equipment in Workforce Development Centers
    11. Interpretation services for primary languages
  • SWTCIE Grant update

  • Notice of Funding opportunity ended.  Eighteen applicants were received.  Six applicants will be selected to participate in the SWTCIE IL grant project. DRS will provide each awardee with $125,000 per year of the grant project, beginning FFY24- FY27. September 30 will end the developmental year of the project.  Oct 1, 2023 will begin year 2 of the grant project, which is the pilot year.  All six 14(c) agencies will be fully engaged in the project.
  • 2023 Mandatory SRC Training review

  • As a reminder, the State Rehabilitation Council Board members are mandated to complete IDHS trainings to remain in compliance. Please complete your trainings sooner than later. As a board member for DHS it is your important to (1) register your Training account on the DoIT Password Reset Portal  to set up self-reset options via your email address, cell phone and/or challenge questions; and (2) to complete all assigned mandatory trainings OneNet.
  • Deadlines:

    • July 31: Ethics
    • August 31: HIPPA/Privacy
    • September 30: Harassment and Discrimination
    • October 31: Security Awareness
    • November 20: DEI
  • Website update; Brochure Review

  • Website and brochure updates are needed. Expecting a committee to take charge of brochure revisions. Robyn will manage website updates

    • June 15, 2023 (HYBRID)

    • Zoom Attendees:
    • Hershel Jackson, Tracy Wright, Tim Engstrom, Shelly Richardson, Rachel Weisberg; Katherine Blank, Erik Hansen, Wolfgang Arterberry
    • In-Person Attendees
        • Impact Cil (impactcil.org)
      • 2735 E Broadway, Alton, IL 62002
      • DRS: Rahnee Patrick, Andy Losasso, Robyn Lewis, Kim Borowicz
      • SRC: Deb Einhorn, Dave Friedman, Kelsey Thompson, Erin Compton
      • Public: Diane and Greg Compton
    • 9:00-9:15 Welcome, Introductions, and Recap
      • Welcome, Introductions and Recap presented
    • 9:15-9:30 Director's report
      • Director provided a brief history of CIL also describing the core services of the 22 centers. Shelly Richardson added: Each Center is unique and provides services needed by their individual communities.
      • Director's vision is to decrease the unemployment rate for persons with Disabilities. The unemployment rate reported is inaccurate due to people in nursing facilities being uncounted. All we can do is report on the number of people we are getting CIE. We as a division are focusing in on those who are in nursing facilities and working under Subminimum Wage Certificate.
        • Question from Dave Friedman: Can you comment on the Workforce restructure?
        • Director: We have participated in learning sessions and learned that the GO will be leading the development of the Unified State Plan and all the Titles will be working together. That's all I know from the commissions report.
        • Question from Kelsey: Is there anything the SRC can to do better collaborate and support DRS that we are not currently doing?
        • Director: Continue to communicate as disabled people our power and value. Disability is a valuable human experience and workforce partners should recognize that value and promote the disability experience even for those that cannot communicate their value themselves.
    • 9:30-9:45 Year-to-date Data Update
      • Report presented by Wolfgang Arterberry - Referrals are up 13%; Certified through eligibility up 6 %; New plans up 5%; IPE is up 7%. Closures are down from last year. We are unclear as to why. WIOA requires data Employment 2nd quarter, Employment 4th quarter, median earnings, measurable skills gain, and credential attainment rate. Director will Share the WIOA dashboard with the SRC as part of her next quarter report. We have hit all our WIOA negotiated metrics for FY23. Audit on the RSA 911 is forthcoming; Our case management system has not been updated in many years which causes us to underreport. Our push for quality, long-term careers and appropriate career is showing through in the data.
  • 9:45-10:00 Old Business (if required) None to report
  • 10:00-10:45 Public Comment
    • Angels for Hire- Robert Hindershot. Robert shared the story about his son who has Down System. His son was hired by the Angels to be the greeter and over 10 years has worked for multiple professional sports teams.
      • 2018 developed Angels for Hire. Three steps: 
        1. presentation to promote DEI to the professional or university sporting facility
        2. reach out to the local Down Syndrome to select candidates. Looking for candidates that are committed, energetic, and interested in working at a sports stadium
        3. Set up employment interviews with the teams. Want to establish long-term employment opportunities.
        4. Have a parent volunteer at each site as support for the workers.
        5. Want to set up franchises in cities that have at least two Angels for hire programs. Looking to expand throughout the Midwest and into Performing Arts centers.
        6. Angels for Hire is here to solve the problem of lack of exciting and interesting jobs for people with disabilities. Letters and emails received from families, teams, and the individuals with disabilities that express how life changing the opportunity. www.Angelsforhigher.org roberth@angelsfh.org
    • 11:00-11:15 Council Appointments Updates

      • The SRC has multiple Current Vacancies:
        • Business, Industry, and Labor (3)- one pending appointment Lee Reese
        • Parent Training center (1)- New director Megan Mutti will replace current member
        • Blind Services Planning Council (1)- no pending applicants
        • Statewide Independent Living Council (1)- Grace Tsao has applied
        • Disability/Advocacy groups (4)- Lily Diego, Jackie Sundquist, Ladona Henson- pending applicants
        • Secondary Education (1)- Shakira Pleasant- pending applicant
        • Former VR recipient (1)- Earl Jones- pending applicant
        • Community Resource Provider (1)- Alici McNeal-pending applicant
    • 11:15-12:00 SRC Committee Reports
      • Operations Nothing to report; Need to reorganize group and get on track
      • Policy and legislation Nothing to report; Need to reorganize group and get on track
      • Member engagement Nothing to report; Need to reorganize group and get on track
    • 12:00-12:15 State Plan Review (Kelsey)
      • State Plan obligations were discussed. DRS is participating in a WIOA work planning group and will develop preliminary goals. A special session to review the Comprehensive Statewide Needs assessment will be held in early August. In Late September, there will be an additional special session to meet the state plan requirements.
    • 12:15-12:45 New Business
      • DRS DIF grant application plans (Update)--DRS applied for a DIF grant from the Department of Education and Rehabilitation Services Association; The grant is to offer Pre-Employment Training Services to youth in collaboration with Local CILs and High school programs.
    • 2023 Meeting dates
      • Quarterly Meeting: September 13, Chicago, IL TBD
      • Quarterly Meeting: November 15, Central IL TBD
    • 1:00 pm Adjourn