OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol
OPPAGA text logo with graphic of FL historic capitol

Education System

Vocational Rehabilitation

What is the purpose of the program?

Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) is a federal-state program that works with individuals who have physical or mental disabilities so they can prepare for, gain, or retain employment in meaningful careers. The program's goal is to enable individuals to become self-sufficient through long-term employment.

Who administers the program?

At the federal level, the U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) oversees the program. The RSA provides leadership and resources to assist state and other agencies in providing vocational rehabilitation (VR) and other services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence and integration into the community and the competitive labor market.
At the state level, the Florida Department of Education (Division of Vocational Rehabilitation) is the designated state agency for vocational rehabilitation services. The division determines client eligibility for VR services, provides VR services in collaboration with state and local entities, conducts research, and administers a statewide VR needs assessment. In addition, the Florida Rehabilitation Council is responsible for assisting the division in VR program planning and evaluation efforts.
VR services and accountability requirements are directed by both federal and state law.

What is the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) Unified State Plan?

Under the provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WOIA), the governor of each state or territory must submit a unified or combined state plan to the U.S. Department of Labor that outlines a four year strategy for the State's workforce development system. The public workforce system is a network of federal, state, and local offices that function to support economic expansion and develop the talent of the nation's workforce. In order to meet the challenge of the 21st century global economy, the public workforce system works in partnership with employers, educators, and community leaders to foster economic development and high-growth opportunities in regional economies. This system exists to help businesses find qualified workers to meet their present and future workforce needs. Florida's unified state plan is effective from July 2016 through June 2020 and includes

Who is eligible for services?

According to the 2017 American Community Survey, there are more than 1.2 million Floridians age 21 to 64 who have a disability. Of those, only 34.2% are employed compared to 77.6% for those without disabilities.  To be eligible for VR services, an individual must want to become employed and
  • have a physical or mental disability that interferes with the individual's ability to become employed; and
  • need VR's help to find or keep a job.
Individuals planning to become employed who receive Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for a disability are presumed eligible for VR services.

What services are provided?

The program provides individually tailored services and job training to people with disabilities who want to work.  An Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) is developed to address the client's needs and lead to employment, which may include the services below.

  • Transition Youth Program - VR Transition Youth Services help students with disabilities train for a job, continue their education, or find a job after high school. Under this program, youth have the opportunity to participate in sponsored career counseling, work readiness training, and fully integrated work experiences in the community.
  • Deaf, Hard of Hearing, and Deaf-Blind Services - VR provides services to address hearing loss issues in the workplace, as well as guidance and counseling on how to cope with hearing loss. In addition, VR can provide interpreting services for job interviews and may provide employers and co-workers training on how to communicate with those who are deaf.
  • Supported Employment - Supported Employment is a unique employment service for individuals with the most significant disabilities who require ongoing support services to succeed in competitive employment. Supported Employment offers continuing assistance from an employment specialist to maintain long-term employment for individuals who have previously been unable to succeed in traditional employment.
  • Ticket to Work Program - is a Social Security Administration (SSA) program available to Floridians. The program issues tickets to individuals who qualify for social security benefits. These tickets may be taken to Employment Network (EN) providers, such as VR, who offer access to employment and rehabilitation services necessary to help a person secure and retain employment. This program is voluntary.
  • Independent Living Program - provides services to promote a philosophy of independent living including consumer control, peer support, self-help, self-determination, equal access, and individual and systems advocacy. The program includes 16 centers throughout the state.
  • Mental Health Programs - VR coordinates services with available mental health centers, programs, and service providers to assist individuals with mental or emotional disabilities in becoming employed.
  • Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Program - The Migrant and Seasonal Farmworker Program funds projects that provide vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities who are migrant or seasonal farm workers and the family members who live with them.
  • Florida Alliance for Assistive Services and Technology (FAAST) Program - provides individuals with disabilities access to assistive technology. FAAST has six Regional Demonstration Centers that provide services to increase awareness, access, and acquisition of assistive technology for all Floridians. Regional centers are located in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, Pensacola, Tallahassee, and Tampa. The program provides repair and funding for assistive technology.

In addition, The Able Trust partners with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation to provide High School-High Tech programs for high school students with disabilities. It is designed to provide high school students with all types of disabilities the opportunity to explore jobs or postsecondary education leading to technology-related careers.

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation also has instituted a Business Relations Program, which includes the Abilities Work Help Desk, to assess and address the needs of individuals with disabilities.

Furthermore, under WIOA, VR provides a variety of Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) through activities specifically designed to engage young minds.

Clients can receive services from local field offices. The division's website provides location and contact information for each office. The Vocational Rehabilitation Ombudsman Office is available to assist applicants and clients in resolving customer service needs.

How many clients are served and how many receive gainful employment?

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Florida Rehabilitation Council issues a joint report with information on participants and outcomes. The 2018-19 report shows that the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation provided services to 48,438 individuals, with 22,866 being transition age youth. In 2018-19, 5,924 individuals successfully obtained employment as a result of these services. The U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration's interactive website provides additional data and reports for Florida and other states.

How are these activities funded?

Federal grants fund the major programs and services provided by the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The state is required to provide 21.3% of the funding.
Fiscal Year: 2020-21
Fund Salary Rate/ Position General Revenue Trust Funds
SALARY RATE
POSITIONS
SALARIES AND BENEFITS
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM ADMINISTRATIVE TRUST FUND
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
OTHER PERSONAL SERVICES
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
EXPENSES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
AID TO LOCAL GOVERNMENTS
GRANTS AND AIDS - ADULTS WITH DISABILITIES FUNDS
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
OPERATING CAPITAL OUTLAY
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
CONTRACTED SERVICES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
FROM GRANTS AND DONATIONS TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
GRANTS AND AIDS - INDEPENDENT LIVING SERVICES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
PURCHASED CLIENT SERVICES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
RISK MANAGEMENT INSURANCE
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
TENANT BROKER COMMISSIONS
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
SPECIAL CATEGORIES
TRANSFER TO DEPARTMENT OF MANAGEMENT SERVICES - HUMAN RESOURCES SERVICES PURCHASED PER STATEWIDE CONTRACT
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM ADMINISTRATIVE TRUST FUND
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
DATA PROCESSING SERVICES
OTHER DATA PROCESSING SERVICES
FROM GENERAL REVENUE FUND
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
DATA PROCESSING SERVICES
EDUCATION TECHNOLOGY AND INFORMATION SERVICES
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
DATA PROCESSING SERVICES
NORTHWEST REGIONAL DATA CENTER (NWRDC)
FROM FEDERAL REHABILITATION TRUST FUND
TOTAL
51,995,056
185,247,805

Updates

Alignment With Federal Requirements. Chapter 2020-85, Laws of Florida, aligns Florida law with federal requirements for state vocational rehabilitation programs to provide preemployment transition services for eligible individuals with a disability who are between 14 and 21 years of age. Specifically, the bill

  • clarifies that vocational rehabilitation services include preemployment transition services;
  • expands requirements for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) to cooperate with other agencies in coordinating preemployment transition plan services for eligible students;
  • modifies the requirements of the assessment performed by the Florida Rehabilitation Council to include an analysis of the alignment of preemployment transitions services with labor market demands;
  • requires the annual performance report provided by the DVR to include the timeframes for handling cases, the uses of matching federal funds, and preemployment transition services data;
  • modifies the membership of the Florida Rehabilitation Council and expands the Council’s scope of review; and
  • modifies provisions related to The Able Trust, including clarifying that administrative costs are based on actual expenditures in any fiscal year, adds the Director of the DVR, or his or her designee, as an ex officio member of the board, and revises board member terms.

Where can I find related OPPAGA reports?

A complete list of related OPPAGA reports is available on our website.

Where can I get more information?

Other Reports
2017-20 Florida Unified Plan, Department of Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Websites of Interest
National Rehabilitation Information Center
National Rehabilitation Association
The Able Trust
U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitative Services Administration
CareerSource Florida

Performance Information


Performance measures and standards for the department may be found in its Long Range Program Plan.

What are the applicable statutes?

Federal Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 (H.R. 1385, Titles I and IV); Section 34 Code of Federal Regulation, Part 361 and Ch. 413, Florida Statutes.

Whom do I contact for help?

Department of Education, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, 850-245-3399 (Voice/TDD) or 1-800-451-4327 (Voice/TDD)

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