FFY 2018, Quarter 3

April 2018 - June 2018

Quarterly Report presented to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind.

Business Enterprise Program Highlights

The BEP’s Committee of Blind Vendors meets four to five times per year to discuss program happenings and participate with program administration by giving input and discussing current issues that affect the program.  One of the issues regularly discussed is the challenge of recruiting qualified individuals likely to have long term success as a blind vendor.  In the February 2018 committee meeting, there was a roundtable discussion to identify roadblocks and issues that current vendors faced while attempting to enter the program. 

The biggest issues identified as potential obstacles were:

  1. Relocation/commute requirement
  2. Wait time for BEP class to start
  3. Length of BEP training

In order to address these obstacles, the committee referred to a topic that has become an annual discussion amongst the committee since 2014: Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired BEP Licensee Training.  It was decided that BEP staff would research and develop a training program that could utilize the Hadley training while retaining the unique to Washington State features of current BEP training. 

In the April 2018 meeting, an outline was discussed that would utilize Hadley online training in addition to on the job experience in order to address some of the challenges described at the February meeting.  A subcommittee was formed consisting of three current vendors, BEP staff, and a BEP contracted classroom trainer to discuss the potential format. 

After discussions with other states’ BEP Managers and lengthy discussions with New York, a training program was developed within the subcommittee and will be implemented in 2018 as a pilot program with BEP’s next students. 

Features of the pilot program that will address the obstacles identified by the committee:

  1. No or very little wait time – Potential students can start the process very soon after their application and referral checklist is completed, and no longer have to wait for BEP to recruit 2 additional students in order to start a class.
  2. Relocation for classroom not required – although commuting or relocating may be required for on the job experience (6 – 8 weeks), this is much more manageable than the currently required 6 – 8 month relocation/commute to Tacoma.
  3. Self-paced study – The Hadley courses can be done at home at your own pace (maximum one year per Hadley) allowing for someone ambitious to complete the classroom training quickly, or someone with current obligations to complete the classroom training at their convenience.

The pilot students’ progress will be closely monitored and material will be supplemented by BEP staff and consultants to ensure the students receive the necessary information that is currently provided in BEP training.  The content and quality of the classroom training will be very similar to current training, but the added convenience of the three bullet points above will make the BEP more attractive to potential participants.

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  • YES Videos filming with Intern
    • Developed interview question
    • Provided information on film techniques etc.
    • Editing help/instruction
    • Final editing in progress
  • YS Flyers for 3 events
  • AT/LV Tours promotions
    • Created contact lists for targeted audiences.
    • Event attendance:
  • OTC Family and Friends Flyer
  • Outreach Poster (May 23 project # 17082 – what is this?)
  • Washington State Library Archiving
    • Submitted copies of all public communications for January – June 2018
  • Proclamation communications with City Councils for NDEAM 2018
    • Requests made in Cities of Lacey, Seattle, Spokane, Vancouver, and Yakima.
    • Also requested from State of Washington

Online Communications


  • Google Analytics Last Quarter (04/01/18 – 07/31/18)

    • Users: 6,487
    • Page Views: 24,865
    • Channels: Direct, 1,658 (25.05%); Organic Search, 4,362 (65.89%); Social, 78 (1.18%); Referral, 522 (7.89%).
  • Online Referral Forms:
    • Self-referrals: 110
    • Physician referrals: 18

Social Media

  • Facebook

    • Likes: 116
    • Total Followers: 125
    • Total Reach: 1,687
  • LinkedIn
    • Total Followers: 67
    • Unique Impressions: 438
    • Total Impressions: 1,616

Other Communication Happenings since last SRCB meeting

The Communications office hosted a YES 2 intern for the month of July.


  • OTC/Aira event, SeaTac Airport, June 18
  • Microsoft Ability Summit, Redmond, May 31
  • Communications Directors Meeting, Olympia/Teleconference, August 1
  • YES Employer Appreciation Event, Seattle, August 2
  • Social Media Workgroup, Olympia/Teleconference, August 16

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Customer Services



  • New VR Applications 300 vs 248
  • New Eligibility determinations 260 vs 219
  • New VR Plans 218 vs 201
  • VR Customers served 1274 vs 1213
  • Competitive and integrated employment outcomes: 107 vs 97
  • Average Hourly Wage: $23.45 vs $19.19

Relatively Consistent:

  • Hispanic community served 13.8% vs 13.8%
  • Asian community served 6.7% vs 6.8%
  •  Youth/ Transition-age customers served 270 vs 284


A sample of successful placements:

  • Social and Human Service Assistants
  • Business Operations Specialists, All Other
  • Production Workers, All Other
  • Rehabilitation Counselors
  • Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand
  • Office and Administrative Support Workers, All Other
  • Training and Development Specialists
  • Medical Records and Health Information Technicians
  • Clinical Psychologists
  • Lawyers
  • Adult Literacy, Remedial Education, and GED Teachers and Instructors
  • Receptionists and Information Clerks
  • Business Intelligence Analysts
  • Human Resources Managers
  • Mental Health Counselors
  • Health Technologists and Technicians, All Other
  • Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
  • Network and Computer Systems Administrators
  • Information Technology Project Managers
  • Nonfarm Animal Caretakers
  • Mechanical Engineers
  • Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
  • Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate

Average hourly wage all employment outcomes Q3: 

  • $ 23.45 per hour

Percentage of participants age 55 and older who exited with employment outcome: 

  • 35%

Eldest with employment outcome: 

  • Age 81 (Appraiser/Assessor of Real Estate)
  • Next eldest: Age 78 (Business Operations Specialist, self-employed)

Youngest with employment outcome:

  • Age 20 (Laborer at US Corp of Engineers)
  • Next youngest: Age 21 (Teacher Assistant)

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Financial Report

Federal Fiscal Year Q3 2018, Through June 2018

2018 State Fiscal Year – Review as of June 30, 2018 (in thousands)





General Fund – State




General Fund – Federal




Information Tech. Investment Fund
 (two year allotment)








Pension Funding Stabilization Act








2018 State Fiscal Year – Federal Grant Funds Only as of June 30, 2018 (in thousands)



Prior Federal Expenditures (SFY 17)

Current Federal Expenditures (SFY 18)


2017 Voc Rehab Basic Services (balance is Pre-ETS set aside)





2018 Voc Rehab Basic Services





2017 Supported Employment





2018 Supported Employment





2017 Independent Living





2017 IL Older Blind





2018 IL Older Blind










NOTE: Grant amounts for 2018 are an estimate.

2018 State Fiscal Year – Total Expenditures by Program as of June 30, 2018 (in thousands)


Federal Funds




Voc Rehab Basic Services





Voc Rehab Pre-ETS





Supported Employment





Independent Living





IL Older Blind





Birth Through 8
(Not Grant Funded)





Social Security Revenue





Business Enterprise Program





Business Management System










Note: $25,000 of the $278,475 in Social Security Revenue was spent towards the Independent Living Older Blind Grant and $253,475 was spent towards the Voc. Rehab Services Grant.

What’s Happening in World of DSB Business and Finance?

  • The agency does not have sufficient funds to serve all eligible individuals requiring services during FFY 2018.  A planning team is underway to implement Order of Selection on October 1, 2018.  DSB continues refining financial and client projections to ensure sufficient funds are available to continue funding existing employment plans and to determining eligibility for everyone who applies for VR services.

  • DSB is looking at options to fill the funding gap.  In August 2018, $2 million of federal reallotment funds were requested from the Department of Rehabilitation Services Administration. DSB will know around mid-September if additional federal grant funds are approved. 

  • On the first of October, DSB will submit a 2018 supplemental budget request to the Governor’s Office for $850,000 in general fund state dollars.  These dollars will fill a funding gap for the short term through 6/30/19.

  • The 19-21 biennial budget request will be submitted to the Governor’s Office on September 12, 2018. DSB is requesting at the least $1.2 million in general fund state dollars.  This amount will likely increase once we know more.

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Human Resources

New Hires/Promotions


Job Title


Duty Station

Effective Date

Stephanie Mellor

VR Counselor 3 In-Training

CS/North Region



Roberto Cordero

Information Technology Specialist 3/AT

CS/North Region





Job Title


Duty Station

Effective Date

Robert Reed

Procurement and Supply Specialist 2




Joanne Laurent

Program Specialist 3

CS/South Region



Current and Future Openings


Job Title


Duty Station

Effective Date

Recruiting Rehab Teacher 3/O & M Specialist CS/South Region Vancouver 07/25/2018  
Recruiting Rehab Teacher 3/O & M Specialist CS/North Region Seattle 08/03/2018  
Recruiting Reader-Driver CS/Admin Seattle 08/13/2018  
Vacant Chief Financial Officer Business Services   Lacey TBA
Vacant Accounting Manager Business Services Lacey TBA

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Independent Living Blind Skills Services

Client Services

Service Snapshot –Younger Blind (YB) and Older Blind (OB) Clients

October 2017-June 2018





Total Cases


137 clients (10% of all clients)

1308 clients (90% of all clients)

Service Delivery to Hispanic or Latino Clients




Service Delivery to Asian Clients




Centenarians (age 100 or older) Served




Youth (24 or younger) Served




Homeless Clients (all clients 60 years old or younger)




Clients with Depression




Clients with Bone, Muscle, Skin, Joint, and Movement Disorders (includes Parkinson’s, arthritis, and osteoporosis)

*More OB Clients have some sort of bone, muscle, skin, joint, and movement issue than any other medical issue.




Clients with Diabetes

*More YB Clients have diabetes than any other additional medical issue.




Average Cost per Client




Recent IL Satisfaction Survey Comments

“The greatest difference has been more independence with telling time and making phone calls.”

“I can now go to a store and read the labels, see ads and read the phone book with my lighted magnifier. I can also see much better with the sunglasses over my regular glasses. My heart doctor wants my weight every day and the lighted talking scale helps. Not holding a flashlight and it tells me my weight. How great!”

“I didn't know there were items that could help me with low vision until my doctor recommended Lilac. I am passing out brochures and telling low vision people of these services (even my doctors). I appreciate the help and am so grateful! I have macular degeneration. Thank you!”

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Information Technology

IT Security Program Audit

We have just completed a successful audit of our IT Security Program.  The auditor praised Jim Dykes’ well organized and methodical organization of our security documentation and policies which resulted in significant less time to review (and saved the agency money!)  The auditor indicated that the DSB IT Security Program could be a model for other state agencies (if the information could be shared - due to the confidential nature it cannot.)

The audit is one step in helping ensure we are able to meet the Office of the Chief Information Officer (OCIO) Annual IT Certification requirements.  Due at the end of September every year, this is a comprehensive report of IT Security, IT Infrastructure and assures that DSB end users are trained in IT security as required by the state. I anticipate we will be in full compliance and no waivers will be necessary.

BMS Project Update

The BMS Project is progressing well.  We are on track to deploy and go live on March 6th, 2019.  The data extracts have reached the milestone of 80% for case data and we are starting to migrate the financial data.  User acceptance testing will commence in October.  All staff intensive trainings will occur immediately before the go-live date of March 6th.  Planning for the transition, System 7 will be turned off at the close of business on February 22nd.  There will be no active system until AWARE goes-live and staff will be reminded that they need to communicate with our participants that they will not be able to process payments, etc. during this time.

Spokane DSB Office Move

The Spokane office move is planned for September 13th and 14th

IT Proposed Decision Packages

IT-related draft decision packages are being provided to the E-Team for their review.  The top priority is to get reimbursement for our recurring expenses related to the state mandate to move all our servers to the state data center.  This includes monthly server hosting costs, cloud backup costs and implementation for the state’s mobile device management system totally approximately $49k per year.  Next is a decision package that would help improve the accessibility and mobility (to improve functionality for mobile devices) for the DSB website.  This ask is a one-time request for $12k. 

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Orientation and Training Center

Progress Towards Strategic Initiative 1 – DSB Story

Getting Back to Business with the OTC by Stephanie Hilton

I heard about the OTC from an eye specialist in 2009.  After losing my job of eight years I decided this would be a good time to deal with my blindness and get some help with mobility skills. I started attending the OTC in 2010 and that was when my life changed. I knew I was going to need to work hard and learn how to do things in a little different way than what I was used to doing. This was a very scary thing for me.

I’ll never forget the first day with my white cane. Mary, my Mobility Instructor, kept telling me to get out from underneath the stairs. I did not know what that meant until she showed me another student walking with the cane and doing the exact same thing that I was doing: Stretching the came out as far as it would go and bending over walking like going under stairs. That was so funny that I certainly figured out what she meant. I stuck with it and Mary stuck with me. She taught me to have confidence in using my cane and letting it lead my way.

Then there was Al, my computer teacher. He is the most patient man I have ever met! I had very little computer skills and now I know how to use Word and Excel, which helps me run my business.

The hardest class I took at the OTC was Braille. Joy was a great teacher and I appreciated everything she taught me. The most interesting class was Shop; and, the most useful class was Home Management with Donna, who is a very sweet woman. Some of my most memorable moments at the OTC were when we went rock climbing and walking ropes in the trees. I graduated in 2011.

I heard about the business enterprise program (BEP) through a student that was attending classes with me. After speaking with my counselor, Lisa Wheeler, about the BEP program I proceeded to apply for this program. I was accepted in 2011 and graduated in 2012. Then, I did an internship at NOAA while waiting for a location to become available. In 2013 I was granted ownership of a Grab and Go at the Jackson federal building in downtown Seattle. Five years later I am a successful blind business entrepreneur.

These programs have not only changed me mentally but also physically and financially. I am so grateful to have had this opportunity to become a successful business owner.

Progress Towards Strategic Initiative 2 – DSB Expertise

Carrie Lampel has been making arrangements with a local Toastmasters official to bring their Speech Craft program to the OTC. The plan is for small group of OTC staff to participate in the program once a week for at least 6 weeks and then expand the program to include OTC students and other DSB participants who may wish to join the group.

Progress Towards Strategic Initiative 3 – Employment at every layer

Six Student Training Employment Program (STEP) internships were completed this quarter. Two students worked at a BEP site in Seattle, one sampled various positions at the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind, one shadowed a Teacher of the Visually impaired in the Highline School District, and one worked as a patient representative at an elder care center. The final student arranged his own internship with the Department of Natural Resources and he has been spending the summer immersed in nature studies. All students were quite satisfied with their internships and look forward to continued growth in their career paths.

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Regional Vocational Rehabilitation

Participant Stories

  • M.L. recently returned to DSB as a PES (post-employment services) participant to get some additional assistance with her assistive technology. She exited the VR program in 2015 after completing a successful self-employment plan to open her own equine massage school in central Washington. M.L. is nationally certified, and her school is one of only a few offering this curriculum. She lives in a very rural area and figuring out a vocational goal that was viable without moving was quite a challenge, but she combined her skills and her passion to create something great.  DSB worked with M.L. to improve her skills of blindness as well as helping her through her massage education and the start-up of her business. M.L. shared, “I am so proud of my small beginnings with this school and its success. We are not huge but we are viable.”

  • Vocation Rehabilitation Counselor Sheila Burkett-Luckey has a participant on her caseload who has been involved with DSB since a small child through the Child & Family program. This young man recently won the Outstanding Student Service Award at Whatcom Community College (WCC). The nomination described how he worked with City Planners to advocate for audible crosswalk signals. Due to his work, the city agreed to put in eight audible signals near WCC.

Progress Towards Strategic Initiative 1 – DSB Story & Outreach

Accessible Transportation Coalition had the opportunity to have Rehabilitation Teacher, Joanne Laurent, come by and provide them an Orientation & Mobility experience with vision simulators. This provided a great moment for individuals to experience their surroundings as someone with a visual impairment.

Progress Towards Strategic Initiative 2 – DSB Expertise

  • Stephanie Mellor and Harry Whiting had a great opportunity to provide information to a class at Evergreen State College (Social Psychology), folks at the Olympia Senior Center, and at Sea-Tac WA SILC Conference. Those who attended these learned all about DSB Services; from evaluation, work readiness training, and placement to counseling and guidance, technology and mobility. Stephanie and Harry were asked about the challenges with employers and how to overcome those. They had a chance to discuss hearing and mobility challenges, and experiences of their participants using public transportation to get to and from work. Stephanie and Harry attended the Port Angeles TVI meeting sharing DSB updates and getting an overview on Social Security that will be useful to share with participants going to work or those already employed.
  • Sheila Burkett-Luckey has taken on being DSB’s contact for Skagit Transit. This role allows her to be part of discussions in addressing accessibility questions. This is a great role for Sheila because she covers this territory for DSB participants and transit in this area has been challenging at times for those looking to stay in this area and work.
  • Jonathan Whitby, VRC, was invited to serve as a board member for Deaf Education Advocates Foundation (D.E.A.F.). The board includes representatives from WA School for the Deaf, Purple VRS, Sorenson, Portland Community College and many others. This board’s mission is to enhance the education of all deaf and hard-of-hearing children and youth in WA State. This provides a great opportunity for organizations involved with D.E.A.F to come together and develop programs that will benefits young folks in all facets of their lives (education, career exploration, self-advocacy, etc.).
  • Kim Daubl, VRC in Spokane, presented to Spokane DVR’s staff. This was a great time to provide information to new staff members throughout their region. Kim discussed about DSB’s eligibility criteria, sharing cases, DSB’s upcoming OOS (Order of Selection) and blind etiquette. Feedback provided was that it was very well received, and many questions were asked.
  • Sandra Rodriquez, Rehabilitation Teacher, hosted an Occupational Therapy class from the Lake Washington Institute of Technology to present Assistive Technology and Low Vision devices that aid with accessibility. 
  • The students in Western Washington University’s Rehabilitation Counseling program had a delightful time learning about Medical Aspects of Vision Loss presented by DSB’s VRCs Sheila Burkett-Luckey and Gil Cupat.

Progress Towards Strategic Initiative 3 – Employment at every layer

  • Ardell Burns, VRC, attended monthly meetings at WorkSource in Vancouver to plan for active employer outreach, discuss WDC employer events in Clark & Cowlitz counties. Marion Eiland, Assistive Technology Specialist (ATS), joined Ardell to discussed accessibility within the WorkSource including materials, technology and educating staff.
  • Jonathan Whitby, VRC, participated in a few WorkSource gatherings in Vancouver where he joined a roundtable meeting to share and discuss DSB information, resources and events for job seekers. There was opportunity for case staffing with representatives from DVR, Tribal VR, Goodwill, and Human Services Council. Jonathan also had the chance to attend Tilkium board meeting that was open to the public. This meeting provided Jonathan the chance to discuss DSB’s vocational services, gather information about Tilkium’s services and resources for Deaf-Blind community members.
  • Kevin Witte with Clark College Economic & Community Development (CCECD) invited Jonathan W., Ardell B., Mario E. and Meredith Hardin to meet and discuss how DSB and CCECD can be partners to connect job seekers to in-demand positions with local employers.

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Youth Services

Spending Targets for Pre-Employment Transition Services Set Aside

Federal Grant

Grant Amount

Pre-ETS Set Aside

Pre-ETS Spent Dollars

Unspent Balance

FFY2016 (ended 09-30-2017)





FFY2017 (ends 09-30-2018)



(as of June 2018) $632,731


FFY2018 (ends 09-30-2019)



(as of June 2018) $0


Pre-Employment Transition Services Activities Since Last SRC Meeting


To make the Eastern WA Skills Camp program more effective with group activities and interaction, we included the Bridge students in many of the Skills activities.

There were 10 participants in the Mt. Vernon and Seattle Skills Camps this summer. The students took part in multiple recreational and food preparation activities designed to increase their knowledge and understanding of ADL skills, career exploration and interpersonal interactions.

The Olympia Skills Camp this year was focused on boats and involved a lot of activity! The youth went kayaking on the first day and ended the last day by sailing. The youth were given responsibilities on the sailboat to teach them team work and communication skills. Students also learned how to budget and grocery shop and spent one full day shopping and cooking.

LEAP (Lifeskills Extended Assistance Program)

This was our pilot year for LEAP. It will be intended for this program to run for two weeks, and this year we piloted one week only. A program designed for students 14 – 21 who may need extra supports in order to be successful. There were 3 participants in each of the Mt. Vernon and Puyallup Camps this summer.

DSB’s first Camp offering in Pierce County was a success! Three youth attended and our focus was on food preparation and jobs within the food industry. We spent some time exploring jobs in grocery stores, agriculture jobs, and jobs in the food service industry. The youth were then able to put their knowledge together and ran their own restaurant on the last day of camp. Students prepared their own Italian meal from scratch with groceries that they purchased, including homemade spaghetti sauce, focaccia bread and a delicious salad. The youth served their friends and families their meals and cleaned the kitchen afterwards using the skills they had been taught throughout the week.

YES 1 (Youth Employment Solutions)

An example of a day’s activity as reported by Youth Services Specialist Jen Scheel:

YES 1 students conducted mock interviews with volunteers, and completed career inventory assessments where they learned about their strengths and weaknesses and how that could relate to a potential career path for them. For some of the students, particularly those who were without vision, using the computer to complete the assessment was a new skill. It seemed like many of the students had never done mock interviews or career inventories before.

The group also took a tour at Guide Dogs for the Blind and learned about the responsibility it takes to have a guide dog.  This was definitely a learning experience for the kids because many of them did not know that they would need to have pretty good cane skills to get their first guide dog. It was super fun because they got to interact with the dogs and learn about how the staff gained employment there.

Bridge Program

Bridge had 8 students complete the 5-week program designed to help students bridge the gap between high school and college.  The age range was 16-18 as we included high school students interested in Running Start for their junior and senior years of high school.  They participated in a 5-credit sophomore-level college course; with all of them earned passing grades. 

The start-up week of Bridge included lessons on O&M, the VR partnership, daily living skills, assistive technology, self- advocacy, assistive technology training, and the differences between secondary and college education.   They also participated in a workshop, Linked In for Youth.  This year’s Bridge mentor was a former Bridge and SWAG student.  She inspired the Bridge students with independence and bus travel adventures to Spokane.

SWAG (Student Work & Academic Growth)

SWAG expanded this year to 8 college students ranging in age from 18 to 21.  For 8 of the 9 week program, students worked part-time jobs on campus and took one or two college classes.  Career Education included Dependable Strengths ® training, mock interviewing, resume and cover letter writing, exposure to O*Net and job shadowing in Spokane. 

They lived with roommates in apartments where they practiced meal prep, cooking, cleaning, banking, variety of transportation, laundry and time management between school, work, and leisure time off.

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