Rehabilitation Services Annual Report 2022

DRS Success: Making It Work Together

State of Illinois Department of Human Services

DRS Annual Report 2022 (pdf)

Message from the Chair…

vin Diaz, Material Handle

On behalf of the State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) and with our Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS) partner, we are pleased to provide the Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report for the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program. The update reviews this year's progress in program services and identifies outcomes and trends.

The SRC continues to hold quarterly meetings with DRS staff, during which we review and assess progress toward goals set forth in our Unified State Plan for Vocational Rehabilitation. Among our ongoing goals are:

  • Conduct regular Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessments and Satisfaction Surveys: Consumer input is essential for the work that we do. The SRC is in the process of implementing our triannual Needs Assessment and Satisfaction Surveys in accordance with the guidelines established by the Rehabilitation Services Administration and the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). These tools allow the Council and DRS to receive candid feedback from a broad group of stakeholders about areas for improvement in our state's Vocational Rehabilitation program. We intend to use information obtained in our latest Needs Assessment and Satisfaction Surveys to inform our priorities and advocacy work.
  • Advocate for increased scope of work-based learning experiences for DRS customers and youth with disabilities: The SRC continues to work with DRS to expand access to internships, apprenticeships, transitional jobs and other non-traditional experiences that have the potential to increase skills and enhance future opportunities for competitive integrated employment.
  • Increase competitive employment outcomes to 6,500 in FY2023: The SRC supports an integrated strategy to achieve competitive integrated employment for VR consumers in Illinois that incorporates the use of the Career Pathways approach, creative job development strategies, adequate counselor staffing, referral growth, and community partnership development. Despite challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic in reaching these goals, we remain hopeful and continue to support work toward this important goal. We also feel encouraged by the great statewide progress made in transitioning individuals from 14(c) subminimum wage employment into competitive integrated employment in their community.

As I begin my first term as SRC Chair, I enthusiastically reaffirm the Council's commitment to maintaining our strong partnership with IDHS/DRS, customers and community stakeholders. We are steadfast in our mission to ensure that the services provided by DRS meet the ever evolving needs of consumers with disabilities across Illinois. We invite you to visit the SRC website at to learn more about the Council and to engage in our process by attending future SRC meetings virtually or in-person.


Kelsey Thompson, Chair

Illinois State Rehabilitation Council

Success Stories

Kevin Diaz

For Kevin Diaz, who not only has past criminal convictions, but a spinal cord injury sustained from a gunshot wound in December 2019, getting a chance, much less a second chance at

employment, was a frustration he experienced regularly. But with the help of The Illinois Department of Human Services, Division of Rehabilitation Services (IDHS-DRS), and the Chicago-based employer, The Bazaar, a second chance is exactly what he received. As Kevin began to work towards a better-quality life, he still experienced challenges and disappointments related to his physical disability and compounded by past criminal convictions and facial tattoos. "I felt dejected and dispirited regarding my employment prospects and began to question my abilities seeing no one was willing to even interview me."

That all changed when Kevin's DRS counselor and a DRS business consultant referred him to The Bazaar, an employer that has made diversity, inclusion, and second chances for marginalized individuals, a company goal.

It was there that he met Walt, a Human Resources Coordinator who also used a wheelchair and after the interview, Kevin's takeaway was one of excitement and connection. Kevin stated, "I felt great about the place as soon as I entered the building. My DRS team told me they were an inclusive employer and it showed right from the beginning.

A few weeks after the interview, Kevin was offered a part-time position as a Material Handler and The Bazaar staff was so impressed with his work that a short time later his position was moved to full-time!

For Kevin, this was a second chance worth taking.

To read the rest of Kevin's story go to

Jacques LaCour

In 2017, Jacques LaCour came to DRS's Bureau of Customer & Community Blind Services (BCCBS) for assistance with adjustment to his vision loss and for seeking a career in Information Technology. His vision loss from Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy makes him legally blind and accessing a computer and print challenging. This diagnosis can be a devastating experience, however, he started out with a great attitude and sense of humor as well as a strong aptitude for computers. He just needed the tools to adjust to his vision loss and to access computers and print. After we assisted him with adaptive equipment, adjustment skills training and college, he successfully earned degrees from the College of DuPage and Dakota State University.

We received this email from him recently: "On May 6, 2022, myself, my wife, my now four year old son, my brother, parents, and mother-in-law flew up to Sioux Falls, South Dakato and on May 7, I graduated from Dakota State University with my Master's Degree in Cyber Defense with a GPA of 4.0. This final semester was possibly the hardest as it was completed while employed full-time as a Cybersecurity Incident Responder at United Airlines at which I am loving my career and the team I work with."

"To top it all off, I was able to come home to our very own home was able to come home to our very own home which we purchased at the end of March. All of this would not be possible without the team effort, assistance, and encouragement of the team there at DRS / BCCBS. A thousand thank you's for helping me find a future I love."

To read the rest of Jacques's story go to 

A message from the Secretary and the Director…

The Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) has a vision for all people in Illinois to achieve their full potential. The Department is committed to providing equitable access to social/human services, supports, programs, and resources to enhance the lives of those we

serve. In 2022, the Division of Rehabilitation Services (DRS), a division of IDHS, reinvented and realigned itself to better meet the needs of our customers with disabilities. We are proud to support best practices for equity-related initiatives with a strong commitment to equal

employment and educational opportunity in all activities, programs, and services.

2022 Division Highlights:

  • DRS field office staff welcomed the opportunity to re-engage and provide face-to-face VR services by meeting their customers in the community, visiting employers, working with Community Resource Providers, and attending Individual Education Program meetings for youth in area high schools.
  • Implementation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the IDHS Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and DRS. The MOU focuses on the continuity of services between shorter-term DRS vocational rehabilitation services and longer- term DDD employment services.
  • DRS field staff provided thousands of individuals working in sheltered workshops earning a subminimum wage, with career counseling and guidance related to obtaining competitive integrated employment through DRS Vocational Rehabilitation services.
  • Guided and supported individuals with disabilities as the State eliminated the practice of contracting with vendors in the State Use Program who pay individuals with disabilities a subminimum wage.
  • Realigned the organizational structure of DRS by redesignating the Illinois Client Assistance Program to Equip for Equality, to serve as an independent ombudsperson, and by creating new Bureaus focused on quality outreach and excellent customer service.

DRS looks forward to closing more gaps in service in 2023 by refining and implementing our Bureau restructure to better serve our customers in diverse, equitable, and inclusive ways.

Our services powerfully support and influence individuals with disabilities to live full, abundant lives by helping them achieve their goals of employment, education, and independent living. We want the world to recognize the talent people with disabilities bring to the table, as this talent has the ability to change our future.

We value human dignity, equity, informed community, urgency, transparency, and kindness. Our accomplishments in 2022 highlight our Department's and the Division's pledge to these values. We are ready to serve you. Help is Here.


Grace B. Hou, Secretary

Illinois Department of Human Services

Rahnee K. Patrick, Director

Division of Rehabilitation Services

IDHS/DRS Vocational Rehabilitation Program FY 2022 Final Data Summary

Service Data

Category Referrals Applications New Plans Total Served Outcomes
BFS Region 1 North 3,240 2,519 2,224 8,171 910
BFS Region 1 South 2,143 1,551 1,271 5,174 579
BFS Region 2 3,962 3,038 2,475 8,862 1,135
BFS Region 3 1,979 1,679 1,401 4,863 796
BFS Region 4 1,503 1,270 1,111 4,022 535
BFS Region 5 1,900 1,675 1,172 4,268 555
BBS 594 479 401 1,795 203
Statewide Total 15,321 12,211 10,055 37,155 4,713

Customers by Service Category

Category STEP Transition STEP + Transition SEP College
BFS Region 1 North 4,288 92 4,380 389 1,096
BFS Region 1 South 3,065 92 3,157 192 534
BFS Region 2 4,845 277 5,122 294 1,279
BFS Region 3 2,100 167 2,267 136 940
BFS Region 4 1,825 150 1,975 75 935
BFS Region 5 1,957 167 2,124 94 760
BBS 83 55 138 19 348
Statewide Total 18,163 1,000 19,163 1,199 5,892

Customers By Age Group

Category Cases Served Competitive Outcomes Percent Competitive Percent Served Average Hourly Wage Average Weekly Earnings
0 - 20 25,462 2,423 51% 69% $13.87 $391
21 - 30 4,055 776 16% 11% $14.72 $409
31 - 40 2,619 552 12% 7% $16.24 $441
41 - 50 2,131 394 8% 6% $16.17 $493
51 - 60 2,065 419 9% 6% $15.77 $433
61 - PLUS 823 151 3% 2% $15.60 $431
VR Total 37,155 4,715 100% 100% $14.70 $413

Customers by Disability Category

Category Served Outcomes Percent of Outcomes Percent of Served Average Hourly Wage Average Weekly Earnings
Visual Impairment 1,616 159 3.40% 4.30% $17.21 $545
Hearing Impairment 1,727 353 7.50% 4.60% $17.91 $527
Orthopedic/ Neurological Impairment 1,938 221 4.70% 5.20% $16.88 $535
Mental Illness Disability 7,142 1,190 25.20% 19.20% $14.43 $400
Intellectual Disability 11,062 1,130 24.00% 29.80% $13.08 $300
Learning Disability 9,445 1,179 25.00% 25.40% $14.20 $425
Alcohol - Substance Abuse 56 13 0.30% 0.20% No Data No Data
TBI Disability 345 42 0.90% 0.90% $15.34 $418
Other 3,824 428 9.10% 10.30% $14.70 $395
VR Total 37,155 4,715 100.00% 100.00% $14.70 $413

Customers By Race/Ethnic Group

Category Cases Served Competitive Outcomes Percent Competitive Percent Served Average Hourly Wage Average Weekly Earnings
White 20,967 2,933 62.20% 56.40% $14.58 $415
Black or African American 8,478 1,049 22.30% 22.80% $15.04 $412
Hispanic Combination 5,953 587 12.50% 16.00% $14.60 $402
Asian 955 77 1.60% 2.60% $15.94 $457
Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander 49 7 0.20% 0.10% $15.23 $515
American Indian/Alaskan Native 59 5 0.10% 0.20% $13.50 $366
Two or More Races 693 57 1.20% 1.90% $14.04 $393
VR Total 37,154 4,715 100.00% 100.00% $13.36 $413
All Minority Categories 16,187 1,782 37.80% 43.60% $14.73 $407

Customers By Race and Education Program

Category White Black or African American Hispanic or Latino Asian Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander American Indian/ Alaskan Native Two or More Races Total All Minority Categories
STEP 9,559 3,684 3,993 525 20 22 360 18,163 8,604
NON STEP Transition 660 175 118 19 1 1 26 1,000 340
College/ University 3,892 1,027 681 157 13 5 117 5,892 2,000
Other 336 156 53 14 1 2 7 569 233
None 6,520 3,436 1,108 240 14 29 183 11,531 5,010
VR Total 20,967 8,478 5,953 955 49 59 693 37,155 16,187

Measurable Skills Gains

Category Post Secondary Students Skills Gained MSG Rate
BBS 211 166 78.70%
BFS Region 1 North 750 623 83.10%
BFS Region 1 South 296 245 82.80%
BFS Region 2 754 578 76.70%
BFS Region 3 532 431 81.00%
BFS Region 4 514 379 73.70%
BFS Region 5 394 271 68.80%
Statewide Total 3451 2693 78.00%

Customers by Education Program

Category Rehab Closures Non-Rehab Closures Rehab Rate Average Weekly Earnings Average Spending on Rehab Education Average Spending on Non- Rehab Education
Community College 617 529 53.80% $540 $10,173 $5,933
Secondary Transitional Experience Program 1925 3362 36.40% $374 $6,476 $2,599
Technical Institute 35 28 55.60% $491 $7,976 $4,787
Transition - NON STEP 194 286 40.40% $478 $13,930 $3,613
University 275 173 61.40% $677 $32,298 $15,102
VR Total 4,713 5,627 45.60% $429 $7,726 $2,871

Customers by Special Program

Category Rehab Closures Non-Rehab Closures Rehab Rate Average Weekly Earnings Average Spending on Rehab Education Average Spending on Non-Rehab Education
Supported Employment 158 258 38.00% $241 $13,059 $3,665
IPS Program 451 255 63.90% $387 $7,817 $2,184
Community Rehab Program 1,989 1,204 62.30% $380 $8,734 $3,085
SSI or SSDI Recipient 1,463 2,019 42.00% $330 $10,386 $2,570
VR Total 4,713 5,627 45.60% $429 $7,726 $2,871

Customers by Order of Selection

Category Rehab Closures Non-Rehab Closures Rehab Rate Average Weekly Earnings Average Spending on Rehab Education Average Spending on Non-Rehab Education
Disability which is MOST SIGNIFICANT 2685 3434 43.90% $387 $7,911 $2,462
Disability which is SIGNIFICANT 390 416 48.40% $511 $7,832 $3,331
Disability which is VERY SIGNIFICANT 1649 1777 48.10% $478 $7,401 $2,820
Statewide Total 4,724 5,627 45.60% $429 $7,726 $2,871

WIOA Performance and Accountability Indicators

Performance Indicator PY 21 Final Actual PY 2022 Expected Level PY 2022 Negotiated Level PY 2023 Expected Level PY 2023 Negotiated Level
Employment (Second Quarter After Exit) 57.20% 56.00% 56.00% 60.00% 60.00%
Employment (Fourth Quarter After Exit) 42.20% 49.00% 49.00% 51.00% 51.00%
Median Earnings (Second Quarter After Exit) $3,997 $3,627 $3,627 $3,942 $3,942
Credential Attainment Rate 28.60% 29.50% 29.50% 31.00% 31.00%
Measurable Skill Gains 67.80% 72.50% 61.00% 75.00% 63.00%

Data Summary Narrative FY2022 Annual Report to the State Rehab Council

Vocational Rehabilitation Program

In FY2022 the DRS Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) program assisted 4,713 people with disabilities in achieving a competitive employment outcome. This marked an increase of 20.5% from the previous fiscal year total of 3,911. These individuals earned on average $21,476 at case closure, an increase of $1,352 annually from the previous year. This added a total of $6.4 million in additional income for Illinois households over the previous year.

DRS VR and the State Rehab Council developed a structured list of quantified performance to be shared quarterly from DRS VR to the SRC, beginning Q1 SFY23. This data covers all of DRS VR programs and brings our cooperative accountability work in line with our State Plan. DRS VR and the SRC believe this will lead to improved services and increased accountability to our customers and the Illinois public.

Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA)

For the final year that Title-IV agencies only have a negotiated target for Measurable Skills Gains Rate as part of the performance and accountability measures, we exceeded this target for the second year in a row. This negotiated goal was 50.0% for PY21/ SFY22 and our final confirmed rate found on our submitted ETA- 9169 was 67.8%. This was the 6th highest in the nation and the highest rate of any state with at least 18,000 participants served and of these states, the second highest was achieved by Michigan at 56.8%. This high rate of success for our post-secondary participants is a testament to the hard work and dedication of

our customers, field staff, community partners, and the Illinois Workforce System as a whole.

This success is encouraging as we adopt four new performance and accountability measures for which we have negotiated targets. We have held training sessions for our staff and prepared them to meet these new targets and build upon the success we achieved with our MSG Rate. The mission of DRS VR is aligned with these new targets as they all relate directly to high standards of service leading to high levels of success for our customers, which in turn leads to a higher quality of life. Credential Attainment and MSG Rate require our staff to ensure our customers' post-secondary endeavors lead to achieving their goals with regular supports. Employment Rate 2nd and 4th Quarter Post-Exit and Median Earnings 2nd Quarter Post-Exit require our staff to prioritize quality of placement and supports to ensure a well-paying, rewarding career our customers would want, and be likely, to stay with. This two pronged approach will allow us to continuously improve our performance statistically, while continuing to prioritize our service to our customers and community.

Programs, activities and employment opportunities in the Illinois Department of Human Services are open and accessible to any individual or group without regard to age, sex, race, sexual orientation, disability, ethnic origin or religion. The department is an equal opportunity employer and practices affirmative action and reasonable