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Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Contact: Andres Aguirre
Department of Social and Health Services
P.O. Box 45340
Olympia, WA 98504-5340
Telephone: 360.725.3610
E-mail: andres.aguirre@dshs.wa.gov

State Website: http://www.dshs.wa.gov/dvr/

Local Link: http://www.dshs.wa.gov/dvr/ContactUs/DVROffices.aspx

Participation: A total of 12,744 participants were served under an individualized plan for employment by the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) between July 1, 2012 and June 30, 2013.

Who is Served: Participants include individuals with all types of disabilities who are of working age, with a focus on helping high school students plan as they prepare to transition to work and/or adult services. DVR’s federal regulations limit service delivery to individuals with disabilities who meet specific eligibility criteria. Eligibility requires certification by DVR that the individual with a disability:

  • Has a physical, mental, or sensory impairment that constitutes or results in a substantial impediment to employment.
  • Can benefit in terms of an employment outcome from the provision of vocational rehabilitation services.
  • Requires vocational rehabilitation services to prepare for, enter into, engage in, or retain gainful employment. (Approximately 99 percent of individuals served by DVR have significant disabilities that result in multiple impediments to employment.)

Program Description: DVR offers vocational rehabilitation and training services to help eligible individuals with disabilities become employed. The priority is competitive, full-time employment. Depending on the individual’s disability and functional limitations, however, other outcomes such as part-time employment, self-employment, or supported employment are also appropriate. To meet these objectives, an individualized plan identifies a series of customized services to be provided, such as assessment, rehabilitation counseling, vocational and other training services, physical and mental restoration services, assistive technology, and/or job search and placement.

Other Program Characteristics: In any year that program funds or staff resources are insufficient to serve all eligible individuals, priority must be given to those with the most significant disabilities. DVR identifies unserved or underserved groups, including individuals from diverse cultural and ethnic groups such as Native Americans, African Americans, Hispanics and Asians and Pacific Islanders. Since incorporation of the Rehabilitation Act into the Workforce Improvement Act, DVR has developed partnerships and service delivery coordination at most WorkSource sites across the state. This partnership includes providing extensive technical assistance to help ensure the accessibility of WorkSource core services to individuals with disabilities, as well as delivering DVR services to its eligible participants at 16 WorkSource locations in coordination with other partners.

Program History: DVR operates under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, including amendments by Congress through 1998. DVR has a long history of helping people with disabilities go to work. In 1933, it began as a division of the Vocational Education Department and operated with three staff. Currently, the division has approximately 325 staff and serves more than 17,000 individuals per year.

Planning Cycle: Every two years.

State Core Measures: See Workforce Training Results at http://www.wtb.wa.gov/WashingtonStateCoreMeasures.asp

Other Outcome Measures: DVR establishes performance objectives at the start of the state fiscal year (July 1 through June 30). Two key outcome measures are:

  1. Number of individuals who achieve an employment outcome.
  2. Rate at which eligible individuals who enter an Individualized Plan for Employment achieve an employment outcome. Other federal standards and indicators also apply.

Funding and Regional Division: Headquartered in Lacey, DVR has 42 offices around the state. In addition, DVR maintains a close liaison with WorkSource Centers across the state and jointly serves participants at many of these locations.  DVR must submit a state plan to receive funding from the U.S. Department of Education under the basic support grant. This is a formula grant distributed to each state based on a calculation of its share of the previous allotment and its population. The state provides matching funds.

State Funding: $11,292,685 (General Fund State Match Dollars), July 1, 2013 – June 30, 2014).

Federal Funding: $43,900,000 (October 1, 2012- September 30, 2013) U.S. Dept. of Education.

Statutory Authority: Federal—Rehabilitation Act of 1973 amended in 1992, P.L. 102–569. State—WAC 388-891-005 through 1330 and RCW 74.29.005–080. Administered by the Department of Social and Health Services.

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