(a) Demonstration projects to increase client choice
The Commissioner may make grants to States and public or nonprofit agencies and organizations to pay all or part of the costs of projects to demonstrate ways to increase client choice in the rehabilitation process, including the selection of providers of vocational rehabilitation services.
(2) Use of funds
An entity that receives a grant under this subsection shall use the grant only—
(A)for activities that are directly related to planning, operating, and evaluating the demonstration projects; and
(B)to supplement, and not supplant, funds made available from Federal and non-Federal sources for such projects.
Any eligible entity that desires to receive a grant under this subsection shall submit an application at such time, in such manner, and containing such information and assurances as the Commissioner may require, including—
(A)a description of—
(i)how the entity intends to promote increased client choice in the rehabilitation process, including a description, if appropriate, of how an applicant will determine the cost of any service or product offered to an eligible client;
(ii)how the entity intends to ensure that any vocational rehabilitation service or related service is provided by a qualified provider who is accredited or meets such other quality assurance and cost-control criteria as the State may establish; and
(iii)the outreach activities to be conducted by the applicant to obtain eligible clients; and
(B)assurances that a written plan will be established with the full participation of the client, which plan shall, at a minimum, include—
(i)a statement of the vocational rehabilitation goals to be achieved;
(ii)a statement of the specific vocational rehabilitation services to be provided, the projected dates for their initiation, and the anticipated duration of each such service; and
(iii)objective criteria, an evaluation procedure, and a schedule, for determining whether such goals are being achieved.
(4) Award of grants
In selecting entities to receive grants under paragraph (1), the Commissioner shall take into consideration—
(A)the diversity of strategies used to increase client choice, including selection among qualified service providers;
(B)the geographic distribution of projects; and
(C)the diversity of clients to be served.
Entities that receive grants under paragraph (1) shall maintain such records as the Commissioner may require and comply with any request from the Commissioner for such records.
(6) Direct services
At least 80 percent of the funds awarded for any project under this subsection shall be used for direct services, as specifically chosen by eligible clients.
The Commissioner may conduct an evaluation of the demonstration projects with respect to the services provided, clients served, client outcomes obtained, implementation issues addressed, the cost-effectiveness of the project, and the effects of increased choice on clients and service providers. The Commissioner may reserve funds for the evaluation for a fiscal year from the amounts appropriated to carry out projects under this section for the fiscal year.
For the purposes of this subsection:
(A) Direct services
The term “direct services” means vocational rehabilitation services, as described in section
723(a) of this title.
(B) Eligible client
The term “eligible client” means an individual with a disability, as defined in section
705(20)(A) of this title, who is not currently receiving services under an individualized plan for employment established through a designated State unit.
(b) Special demonstration programs
(1) Grants; contracts
The Commissioner, subject to the provisions of section
776 of this title, may provide grants to, or enter into contracts with, eligible entities to pay all or part of the cost of programs that expand and improve the provision of rehabilitation and other services authorized under this chapter or that further the purposes of the chapter, including related research and evaluation activities.
(2) Eligible entities; terms and conditions
(A) Eligible entities
To be eligible to receive a grant, or enter into a contract, under paragraph (1), an entity shall be a State vocational rehabilitation agency, community rehabilitation program, Indian tribe or tribal organization, or other public or nonprofit agency or organization, or as the Commissioner determines appropriate, a for-profit organization. The Commissioner may limit competitions to one or more types of organizations described in this subparagraph.
(B) Terms and conditions
A grant or contract under paragraph (1) shall contain such terms and conditions as the Commissioner may require.
An eligible entity that desires to receive a grant, or enter into a contract, under paragraph (1) shall submit an application to the Secretary at such time, in such form, and containing such information and assurances as the Commissioner may require, including, if the Commissioner determines appropriate, a description of how the proposed project or demonstration program—
(A)is based on current research findings, which may include research conducted by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, the National Institutes of Health, and other public or private organizations; and
(B)is of national significance.
(4) Types of projects
The programs that may be funded under this subsection may include—
(A)special projects and demonstrations of service delivery;
(B)model demonstration projects;
(C)technical assistance projects;
(D)systems change projects;
(E)special studies and evaluations; and
(F)dissemination and utilization activities.
(5) Priority for competitions
(A) In general
In announcing competitions for grants and contracts under this subsection, the Commissioner shall give priority consideration to—
(i)special projects and demonstration programs of service delivery for adults who are either low-functioning and deaf or low-functioning and hard of hearing;
(ii)supported employment, including community-based supported employment programs to meet the needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities or to provide technical assistance to States and community organizations to improve and expand the provision of supported employment services; and
(iii)model transitional planning services for youths with disabilities.
(B) Additional competitions
In announcing competitions for grants and contracts under this subsection, the Commissioner may require that applicants address one or more of the following:
(ii)Types of disabilities.
(iii)Types of services.
(iv)Models of service delivery.
(v)Stage of the rehabilitation process.
(vi)The needs of underserved populations, unserved and underserved areas, individuals with significant disabilities, low-incidence disability population or individuals residing in federally designated empowerment zones and enterprise communities.
(vii)Expansion of employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities.
(viii)Systems change projects to promote meaningful access of individuals with disabilities to employment-related services under title I of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 [29 U.S.C. 2801 et seq.] and under other Federal laws.
(ix)Innovative methods of promoting achievement of high-quality employment outcomes.
(x)The demonstration of the effectiveness of early intervention activities in improving employment outcomes.
(xi)Alternative methods of providing affordable transportation services to individuals with disabilities who are employed, seeking employment, or receiving vocational rehabilitation services from public or private organizations and who reside in geographic areas in which public transportation or paratransit service is not available.
(6) Use of funds for continuation awards
The Commissioner may use funds made available to carry out this section for continuation awards for projects that were funded under sections
777a of this title (as such sections were in effect on the day before August 7, 1998).
(c) Parent information and training program
The Commissioner is authorized to make grants to private nonprofit organizations for the purpose of establishing programs to provide training and information to enable individuals with disabilities, and the parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or other authorized representatives of the individuals to participate more effectively with professionals in meeting the vocational, independent living, and rehabilitation needs of individuals with disabilities. Such grants shall be designed to meet the unique training and information needs of the individuals described in the preceding sentence, who live in the area to be served, particularly those who are members of populations that have been unserved or underserved by programs under this chapter.
(2) Use of grants
An organization that receives a grant to establish training and information programs under this subsection shall use the grant to assist individuals with disabilities, and the parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of the individuals—
(A)to better understand vocational rehabilitation and independent living programs and services;
(B)to provide followup support for transition and employment programs;
(C)to communicate more effectively with transition and rehabilitation personnel and other relevant professionals;
(D)to provide support in the development of the individualized plan for employment;
(E)to provide support and expertise in obtaining information about rehabilitation and independent living programs, services, and resources that are appropriate; and
(F)to understand the provisions of this chapter, particularly provisions relating to employment, supported employment, and independent living.
(3) Award of grants
The Commissioner shall ensure that grants under this subsection—
(A)shall be distributed geographically to the greatest extent possible throughout all States; and
(B)shall be targeted to individuals with disabilities, and the parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of the individuals, in both urban and rural areas or on a State or regional basis.
(4) Eligible organizations
In order to receive a grant under this subsection, an organization—
(A)shall submit an application to the Commissioner at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Commissioner may require, including information demonstrating the capacity and expertise of the organization—
(i)to coordinate training and information activities with Centers for Independent Living;
(ii)to coordinate and work closely with parent training and information centers established pursuant to section
1471 of title
(iii)to effectively conduct the training and information activities authorized under this subsection;
(i)shall be governed by a board of directors—
(I)that includes professionals in the field of vocational rehabilitation; and
(II)on which a majority of the members are individuals with disabilities or the parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of the individuals; or
(I)shall have a membership that represents the interests of individuals with disabilities; and
(II)shall establish a special governing committee that meets the requirements specified in subclauses (I) and (II) of clause (i) to operate a training and information program under this subsection; and
(C)shall serve individuals with a full range of disabilities, and the parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of the individuals.
Each organization carrying out a program receiving assistance under this subsection shall consult with appropriate agencies that serve or assist individuals with disabilities, and the parents, family members, guardians, advocates, or authorized representatives of the individuals, located in the jurisdiction served by the program.
The Commissioner shall provide coordination and technical assistance by grant or cooperative agreement for establishing, developing, and coordinating the training and information programs. To the extent practicable, such assistance shall be provided by the parent training and information centers established pursuant to section
1471 of title
(A) Quarterly review
The board of directors or special governing committee of an organization receiving a grant under this subsection shall meet at least once in each calendar quarter to review the training and information program, and each such committee shall directly advise the governing board regarding the views and recommendations of the committee.
(B) Review for grant renewal
If a nonprofit private organization requests the renewal of a grant under this subsection, the board of directors or the special governing committee shall prepare and submit to the Commissioner a written review of the training and information program conducted by the organization during the preceding fiscal year.
(d) Braille training programs
The Commissioner shall make grants to, and enter into contracts with, States and public or nonprofit agencies and organizations, including institutions of higher education, to pay all or part of the cost of training in the use of braille for personnel providing vocational rehabilitation services or educational services to youth and adults who are blind.
Such grants shall be used for the establishment or continuation of projects that may provide—
(A)development of braille training materials;
(B)in-service or pre-service training in the use of braille, the importance of braille literacy, and methods of teaching braille to youth and adults who are blind; and
(C)activities to promote knowledge and use of braille and nonvisual access technology for blind youth and adults through a program of training, demonstration, and evaluation conducted with leadership of experienced blind individuals, including the use of comprehensive, state-of-the-art technology.
To be eligible to receive a grant, or enter into a contract, under paragraph (1), an agency or organization shall submit an application to the Commissioner at such time, in such manner, and containing such information as the Commissioner may require.
(e) Authorization of appropriations
There are authorized to be appropriated to carry out this section such sums as may be necessary for each of the fiscal years 1999 through 2003.
The Workforce Investment Act of 1998, referred to in subsec. (b)(5)(B)(viii), is Pub. L. 105–220, Aug. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 936, as amended. Title I of the Act is classified principally to chapter 30 (§ 2801 et seq.) of this title. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section
9201 of Title
20, Education, and Tables.
777a of this title (as in effect on the day before August 7, 1998), referred to in subsec. (b)(6), means section
711 of this title prior to repeal by Pub. L. 105–220, title IV, § 403,Aug. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 1093, and section
777a of this title prior to the general amendment of this subchapter by Pub. L. 105–220, title IV, § 406,Aug. 7, 1998, 112 Stat. 1183.
2004—Subsec. (c)(4)(A)(ii). Pub. L. 108–446, § 305(h)(6), substituted “section
1471” for “section
Subsec. (c)(6). Pub. L. 108–446, § 305(h)(5), substituted “section
1471” for “section
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