Quarterly Reports are presented to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind during their quarterly meetings.
Quarterly Report, FFY 2023, 3rd Quarter
April - June 2023
Presented to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind
September 15, 2023
- Independent Living Blind Skills Services
- Business Enterprise Program (BEP)
- Business Engagement /Relations Highlights
- Customer Services
- Orientation and Training Center Highlights
- Regional VR Highlights
- Agency Communications Report
- Financial Report
- Human Resources Update
INDEPENDENT LIVING BLIND SKILLS SERVICES
CUSTOMERSSERVED (FEDERAL FISCAL YEAR (FFY) 2023, QUARTER 3)
|Program||FFY 2023, Q3|
|Adults under 55||19|
|Adults age 55+||170|
CUSTOMER AND CASE TRENDS
|Trend||FFY 2022, Q3
|FFY 2023, Q3
|All closed clients||190||189|
|Customers under age 24||1||0|
|Customers over age 100||0||1|
|Customers who identify as a minority||16%||10%|
|Customers who have multiple disabilities||34%||30%|
|Customers with household incomes $30,000 or less||63%||60%|
|Cost per case average||$700||$700|
FFY 2023 PRELIMINARY OUTCOMES
Most popular Assistive Technology categories of devices provided:
- Handheld magnifiers
- Writing guides
- Address books
- UV filters and sunshades
- Stand magnifiers
**In addition, 82 customers received cell phone and tablet apps demonstrations to see if a cell phone or tablet and apps for people with vision loss or blindness would be beneficial.
Clients who feel more independent and more confident in maintaining their current living situation:
Out of 613 participants closed in FFY 2023 to date, 573 or 93% reported being more confident in their current living situation and that their independent living skills have improved.
Counties without customers served
Columbia, Pend Oreille, and Wahkiakum.
COURTNEY’S SUCCESS STORY
Courtney is a resilient 76-year-old woman from Chelan County whose passion in life is serving her community, and spending time with her family and church. Previously diagnosed with macular degeneration, Courtney was gradually losing her vision when she suddenly came down with a severe case of food poisoning. After being hospitalized, she was put in a medically induced coma for five months to recover. Upon release, Courtney experienced complications with mobility and memory issues. She found the day-to-day tasks that she was struggling to complete due to her vision loss even more difficult. Despite the support from her husband, Steven, and their community, Courtney was losing hope that she would be able to meaningfully engage in her hobbies, spend time with her church and study groups, and take care of herself independently. Together, Courtney and Steven began to search for resources to help her develop new ways to live with vision loss and came across Independent Living (IL) Blind Services.
After connecting with IL services, Courtney and her provider started working on tackling the tasks most important to Courtney’s daily living. They worked on strategies for brushing teeth, grooming, and maintaining hygiene. With the help of a bold line tablet and a large print calendar, Courtney could manage shopping lists, write letters, and keep her own appointments. They covered putting bump dots on the washing machine and dryer to identify their settings. The IL provider also placed bump-dots on the oven and microwave to ensure Courtney was able to safely cook for herself. The bump dots were so helpful that at the start of one of their following appointments, Courtney’s IL provider found her baking a batch of cookies to bring to her study group.
From there, they moved on to helping Courtney spend her time doing the activities she enjoyed before her vision loss and hospital stay. The IL provider brought Courtney TV glasses and different magnifiers to help her watch television, view printed material at church, and help her with sewing and mending. With the addition of self-threading needles, Courtney was able to successfully mend their cushions without any assistance from her husband. Finally, the IL provider supplied Courtney with a CCTV to help her read and study. Courtney was thrilled with the doors that opened through the CCTV; she said it was a life-changing device.
With all her goals completed, Courtney and her IL provider decided to proceed with closing her case. Courtney’s IL provider praised her resilience and desire to be independent, shown through practice and progress in between sessions. Courtney expressed her deep thanks for the services and AT provided to her, and that it’s dramatically improved her and Steven’s lives. The IL provider noted that during their first session, Steven was in tears when he talked about everything that Courtney went through. By their final session, Courtney and Steven were laughing together and were “so much happier.”
BUSINESS ENTERPRISE PROGRAM (BEP)
As reported for several quarters now, BEP continues to manage the program with half of its sites open for business at limited profitability and without a clear cut and reliable plan for facilities to be re-occupied in the coming months. Due to the hybrid work culture all focus is on pivoting business model to smaller operations, micro markets, and consolidated cafés.
Previously we have mentioned economic impact from the pandemic and endemic challenges. These are still very relevant, and we have not seen much movement along these lines that have been helpful. The hospitality industry is burdened with extreme labor shortage, constant supply chain issues and escalating cost of operations from every direction.
Major focus this quarter was on the Rebuild Project with two sites starting construction, design of another key location, and moving a considerable amount of equipment to surplus. We continue to work with our project management firm Integrated Solutions Group to guide the workload and keep all the parts on track. Our consultant Dana Whitford has been an invaluable resource during the process holding sessions with DSB steering committee regularly, attending construction meetings weekly, and providing reports to various stakeholders as well.
Another undertaking with ISG this quarter was the completion and output of a feasibility study around the Randolph Sheppard program across the country. Some key insights were gained from surveying and holding interview sessions with several other states. More to report later as we dive into the details.
The BEP team assisted Alan Madderra, owner of Navy Bean at the Bremerton Shipyard, open up his second store back up in late May. Additionally, we helped Billy Albertson in Vancouver open a small second coffee bar around the same time. This site has been in the expansion works for over a year.
The BEP funds remain very limited for operations, and we are looking at every avenue to grow revenue, such as more vending locations and not replacing equipment unless it is a vital need. A benefit from removing equipment from several sites is that we gained some good back-up assets to use if needed. Additionally, we are reworking our equipment specs, writing new food safety plans, and developing other key management manuals for each operation.
TRAINING AND POTENTIAL NEW VENDOR UPDATE
BEP continues to rework the training program to match some of the goals of the rebuild, and better prepare all our vendors and future students. The feasibility study validated we are on the right track and a more modern approach to business is needed. Jim continues to collaborate with his peers across the industry to seek additional resources.
The BEP team is fully staffed again. Julia Longacre arrived in November and has brought tremendous skill set to the team over her first six months. Kephran Mason joined the team in mid-February and hit the ground running right away. He is actively meeting with vendors, moving equipment out of sites, and performing a variety of other technical supports with Jim and on his own. His wide breadth of business and marketing knowledge has already benefited the vendors and the Agency. We are excited to have him onboard and look forward to seeing him grow in the role.
We appreciate the E-team helping us navigate this new environment.
BUSINESS ENGAGEMENT/RELATIONS HIGHLIGHTS
DEPENDABLE STRENGTHS TRAINING
During Business Engagement/Relations and Workforce Program Manager Carl Peterson’s intensive week at the OTC in early October 2022, a staff member approached him to suggest that DSB should explore the possibility of training a number of DSB staff as Dependable Strengths facilitators because the current facilitator was retiring. Intrigued by the idea, Carl investigated the Dependable Strengths curriculum, curious to see if it could continue to benefit DSB clients.
What Carl found is that the Dependable Strengths program had a history of transforming the lives of many past clients at DSB who were looking to reenter the workforce. One of his friends, who specializes in providing strengths-based coaching to client, feels that the Dependable Strengths curriculum is “the best out there for Workforce Development professionals”. With that in mind, Carl proposed to not only keep the program but expand it by training a new generation of DSB staff.
Carl reached out to the Dependable Strengths Foundation in late October, and DSB decided as an organization that it’d be the most impactful and most efficient to do a training in person. The in-person “Train the Trainer” sessions took place at the Seattle DSB office over a week’s time this past May. There were 10 staff in total at the training, two staff from the East Region, two staff from the South Region, two staff from the North Region, and four staff from the OTC. A Pre-ETS staff member also went through the Dependable Strengths “Train the Trainer” sessions online, in another training that the Dependable Strengths Foundation offered.
The sessions commenced with an introduction by retiring OTC Instructor Kim Massey on what Dependable Strengths truly meant for DSB. He spoke about the history of how it started, how it was adapted, and much more. The staff that participated in the training described it as one of the most enriching experiences they've had during a training week. Not only did the program help them gain clarity about their own strengths as employees, but it also enabled them the ability to assist others in discovering their future goals and directions. This achievement has opened numerous possibilities for DSB to explore in expanding the offerings for job search courses and better supporting participants. With 11 competent Dependable Strengths trainers on board, DSB is excited to embrace the future and continue making a positive impact in people's lives.
EXPANDING DSB PRESENCE AT WORKSOURCE LOCATIONS
DSB has been strategically expanding its presence within Washington State's WorkSource system, aligning with their mission to enhance job seekers' access to a diverse range of valuable services. The WorkSource system offers an array of crucial resources, including:
- Business Relations: WorkSource locations host job fairs and employer events, helping to connect businesses and job seekers.
- Strategies for Success: The six-week Strategies for Success Workshop is a transformational workshop available at every one-stop center in Washington State. Geared towards helping participants achieve success in life and job search, this workshop is six weeks, with each week presenting a topic integral to going to work. These include work concepts, health and well-being, personal strength building, communication, and community engagement. This program has been integral in propelling individuals towards a more successful job search and better outcomes in employment.
- Job Seeker Classes: WorkSource offers a variety of classes geared towards equipping job seekers with essential job search skills, including interviewing techniques, LinkedIn profiles, resumes, and more. These classes serve as helpful resources for individuals aiming to beef up their job search capabilities.
DSB is working with the WorkSource systems to facilitate better access to these opportunities, as well as more resources for individuals in areas of the state that don’t have a DSB field office located nearby. This helps participants get access to these great resources, and it also allows VRCs to meet with their participants outside the participants’ place of residence. As of June 2023 a VRC has been co-located in the Tri-cities WorkSource, and a relationship exists that allows DSB staff to use the Wenatchee WorkSource.
Next, DSB looked at areas that most needed a VRC co-location on the West side of the state. Those areas were determined to be on the Olympic Peninsula (South Region) and in the Skagit Valley/Bellingham (North Region). Carl Peterson met with Marissa Cahill, the Executive Director of the Northwest Workforce Development Council, and Ed Looby, the One Stop Operator for Olympic Workforce Development Council. Both were very receptive to co-locating VRCs in the WorkSource regions they represented. A plan was created to help DSB staff and the staff at WorkSource acclimatize to their new partners. See details below for each location.
A pilot project was initiated at the Mount Vernon WorkSource center. It was the most centrally located WorkSource and most importantly, it is equipped with private office spaces. This location in the center of Mount Vernon allows participants from the Skagit Valley easier access to a physical meeting space. It also allows participants from Whidbey Island, Mount Vernon, and Bellingham easier access to Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling than the Seattle location offers.
To initiate this relationship, DSB staff held two training sessions each at Mount Vernon WorkSource and WorkSource Bellingham, talking to over 20 staff members about who DSB is, how individuals are helped to get into employment, and more.
OLYMPIC PENINSULA (KITSAP AND CLALLAM COUNTIES)
In Sequim/Silverdale, Joy Davidson, VRC in Lacey, met with WorkSource staff to introduce herself. There was a job fair that occurred during that time at the Sequim WorkSource, and she spoke with a number of different employers about DSB. Staff at the Sequim WorkSource were impressed with this, as they commented to me that they have never seen a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor chat with employers before.
After that, Carl Peterson did a presentation on who DSB is and what we are about to 30+ staff from the Silverdale WorkSource and the Sequim WorkSource. Since then, Joy has provided onsite services at either the Silverdale or Sequim WorkSource on a weekly basis.
The hope is that these initiatives expand over time. This helps participants get better access to the WorkSource as well as promote DSB to the greater Workforce system.
SNAPSHOT OF PERFORMANCE COMPARISON: [Q3 FFY22 VS Q3 FFY23]
- New VR Applications [262 vs 233]
- VR Customers Receiving Planned Services [1,040 vs 966]
- Students with a Disability served [352 vs 246]
- Competitive Employment Outcomes [59 vs 74]
- Average Hourly Wage FFY23 Q1 [$25.50 vs $27.86]
- Year-to-date [$26.33 vs $27.92]
Successful placements made this quarter:
|Job Title||Employer||County / Region|
|Teaching Assistants, Preschool, Elementary,
Middle, and Secondary School, Except Special Education
|Progress Center||Cowlitz / South|
|Retail Salespersons||Ross Dress for Less||King / North|
|Retail Salespersons||North 40 Outfitters||Stevens / East|
|Customer Service Representatives||Lil's People World||King / North|
|Extended Employment Worker||Mirabeau Park Hotel||
Spokane / East
|Teachers and Instructors, All Other||Wa. State Department of
Services For the Blind
|Spokane / East|
|Dispatchers, Except Police, Fire, and Ambulance||King County Department of
King / North
|Secretaries and Administrative Assistants, Except Legal,
Medical, and Executive
|Portland Community College||Clark / South|
|Occupational Health and Safety Specialists||Wa. State Department of Health||Benton / East|
|Property, Real Estate, and Community Association Managers||Marina Management LLC||King / North|
|Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand||Amazon||King / North|
|Receptionists and Information Clerks||Shasha Moon Salon||King / North|
|Cooks, Institution and Cafeteria||The Davenport Grand||Spokane / East|
|Elementary School Teachers, Except Special Education||Burlington-Edison School District||Skagit / North|
|Radio Operators||Larson-Wynn, Inc.||Klickitat / East|
|Marketing Managers||MSR Communities||Snohomish / North|
|Counselors, All Other||Wa. State Division of Vocational
|Kitsap / North|
|General and Operations Managers||Cascade Connections||Whatcom / North|
|Sales and Related Workers, All Other||Denali Water||Cowlitz / North|
|Rehabilitation Counselors||Wa. State Division of Vocational
|Thurston / South|
|Tax Preparers||H & R Block||Franklin / East|
|Material Moving Workers, All Other||Deseret Industries||Pierce / South|
|Dispatchers, Except Police, Fire, and Ambulance||City of Richland||Benton / East|
|Massage Therapists||Sumner Physical Therapy||Stevens / East|
|Customer Service Representatives||Climate Pledge Arena||King / North|
|Sales and Related Workers, All Other||3Degrees Group, Inc.||Canyon / South|
|Teachers and Instructors, All Other||Prospect Education, LLC
|Clark / South|
- Percentage of participants age 55 and older who exited with employment outcome: 37%
- Eldest with employment outcome:
Age 71 – Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
- Youngest with employment outcome:
Age 19 – Material Moving Worker
ORIENTATION AND TRAINING CENTER HIGHLIGHTS
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1 – TELLING THE DSB STORY
OTC SPOTLIGHT ON KALI KLEVEN-WARREN
In the face of adversity, Kali Kleven-Warren rewrote her life's narrative with unwavering determination. Her journey, marked by diabetes, depression, and addiction, became a story of resilience and redemption, guiding her toward a future illuminated by hope.
Originally from Tacoma, WA, Kali's life was tough almost from the beginning. Raised in a rough home environment and burdened by unhealthy family relationships, she battled depression from a tender age. Seeking an escape from her reality, she turned to experimentation with drugs and substances at the age of 13. At 14, she was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Under her mother's care, Kali initially managed her diabetes diligently. However, when she found herself on her own at 17, her life took a drastic turn, and her destructive path began to take shape.
Kali yearned for a sense of belonging, and unfortunately, she thought she found it among a group of individuals caught in the cycle of drug abuse. What started as a search for acceptance quickly spiraled out of control. Kali candidly admitted, "My problem with drugs kept escalating because every new drug I tried seemed to be better than the previous one."
Methamphetamine and heroin became her primary drugs of choice. For seven long years, she neglected her diabetes, refusing to take insulin, causing her A1C levels and blood sugar to soar dangerously high, sometimes reaching the thousands.
"I was a needle user, so rather than using my insulin needles for taking insulin, I used them to take drugs," Kali recalled.
As addiction tightened its grip, Kali's health rapidly deteriorated. The abuse of drugs took its toll on her body, causing her blood vessels to burst and leading to severe vision problems. Despite undergoing a healing process, scar tissue developed in the back of her eyes, ultimately detaching her retinas. Kali recounted that her eye doctor revealed that the scar tissue behind her eyes had become as thick as cardboard, and it was this thickness that ultimately led to the detachment of her retinas.
"Basically, I’m blind because of myself. I can’t blame anybody else for not taking care of myself when I should have," Kali acknowledged with remarkable self-awareness.
Adding blindness to her already heavy burden further plunged Kali into despair. At only twenty-five years old, she struggled with severe depression and experienced heightened sensitivity to noises and sounds, making the world around her overwhelming. The already introverted young lady retreated into herself even more. Circumstances forced Kali to move back in with her mother, even though past bridges had been burnt, and tensions were high. Yet, amidst it all, Kali's mother tried to support her daughter. Now, with added blindness challenges, Kali needed to acquire the necessary skills to navigate life.
"I knew nothing about blindness or blind people. As a sighted person, I never thought about it or came across other blind people. Aside from that, I went from feeling helpless to being helpless. I was scared, thinking I was going to have to live in some kind of home care setting, with a caregiver, and sit on the couch all day. That’s what I thought the rest of my life would look like," Kali shared.
One day, while at the store with her mother, Kali caught the attention of a woman who worked at the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind. This encounter proved to be both fortuitous and the beginning of a new path. The woman handed them her business card, leading them to the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind the following week. There, Kali was introduced to accessible technology, particularly the iPhone, and had the chance to meet and interact with other blind individuals. They were also informed about the Department of Services for the Blind (DSB) and the Orientation and Training Center (OTC), where Kali could receive essential training in the skills of blindness. Not long after, Kali was introduced to her first Vocational Rehabilitation counselor, Juanessa Scott. Juanessa guided Kali through the process of accessing DSB services and enrolling at the OTC. Six months later, Kali arrived in Seattle as an OTC student, embarking on a transformative journey of empowerment and independence.
Kali's journey at the OTC began with a great deal of anxiety. Not only was she blind, but she was also in the process of staying sober and overcoming addiction. Her anxiety levels sometimes went through the roof, and she was unsure of what to expect from the OTC experience.
Fortunately, Kali's fears began to ease as she found support and guidance from everyone around her. Her student mentor played a crucial role in helping her feel safe and gaining confidence. Moreover, the teachers in her classes were instrumental in boosting her self-assurance. Kali appreciated the personalized approach to learning, with classes tailored to address her specific needs. The accommodating and respectful atmosphere at the OTC made her feel valued as an adult, giving her the confidence to take charge of her life and future. Unfortunately, most of Kali’s OTC training ended up being remote due to COVID. Students had classes from their homes, either via phone or zoom, and Kali made the best of this challenging situation.
Amidst the challenges, Kali excelled in two standout classes—Braille and Computers. She quickly grasped the Braille system, enabling her to read books independently—a skill she never imagined acquiring. Encouraged by her progress, she took the State Certification test and passed with flying colors. Similarly, her passion for computers drove her to become proficient in using technology, unlocking opportunities for her education and future pursuits. Over time, other students began looking at her as a peer tutor for both Braille and Technology.
Not everything was easy. Other classes, such as Home Economics and Orientation and Mobility, presented their own set of challenges. Developing confidence in these areas took considerably more time compared to the subjects in which she excelled. Despite the hurdles, Kali persevered, giving her best effort and maintaining her ongoing commitment to improvement.
A few months ago, Kali returned to the OTC for its Intensive Workshop week, where she concentrated on bolstering her confidence in the two classes, which she found more challenging. Working with instructor Kim Massey in the kitchen opened a new door for her, as she is now on a baking kick and loves it! She now knows that her confidence is growing.
When asked how she felt about the training she received, she said the following. “I think that I can do the same things as any other sighted person. All blind people must do is learn the necessary skills and apply them to the situation.”
With newfound skills and determination, Kali accomplished her goal of obtaining her High School diploma, followed by earning her associate degree at Pierce College. It was even more special for her, as she graduated with her associate degree on the anniversary of her two-year sobriety.
Kali is very thankful for Braille teacher Joy Iverson’s mentorship, high expectations, and belief in her as a person. “Joy told me that I needed to get a higher education, so I started doing it at Pierce, and I will continue at UW Tacoma.”
Kali has made remarkable progress since her time at the OTC. She now lives independently, in an environment that supports her in maintaining her sobriety. Additionally, she actively seeks opportunities for personal growth, whether through programs or self-improvement efforts. Kali remains dedicated to honing her blindness skills and is committed to her ongoing development. Her current lifestyle is far from what she once feared, where she thought she might be confined to sitting on the couch all day.
While experiencing a touch of hesitation and apprehension, Kali eagerly anticipates the start of her studies at the University of Washington in September. She plans to major in Social Work and minor in Criminal Justice. Her career aspirations are centered around becoming a social worker, with potential roles in a hospital or a juvenile facility. Kali is driven to make a positive impact on the lives of children at risk of incarceration or significant legal challenges.
Kali emphasized the significance of having fellow blind individuals in her life. Throughout her OTC experience, she formed strong bonds with her peers, and to this day they maintain a weekly tradition of connecting via FaceTime.
“Being part of a community of blind people has been a game changer for me. I think back to when I was younger and looking for a group of people to which I could belong. I never really felt that, because all of us using drugs were using one another for our drugs. This group of people I went to the OTC with is just a group of friends, understanding one another and trying to figure things out together as we go. I like that.”
Life is very different for Kali these days. Her drive, determination, and boundless ambition are the tools that will shape her future—a future full of success and fulfillment.
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 2 – DSB EXPERTISE
- OTC staff continues to attend various training opportunities to either improve their knowledge and expertise in the areas they teach, or to learn about DSB policies.
- In late April, OTC instructors attended the DSB All-Staff training and celebration. It was good to learn new things and meet and reunite with DSB staff from around the state.
- OTC Manager Ron Jasmer has been attending the Emerging Leaders program training and has gotten a lot out of it that he is eager to share with the OTC team.
- Instructor Jim P. has attended several Technology training related Webinars. In addition, he attended a day-long workshop for Rehabilitation Professionals while at the National Federation for the Blind convention in Houston.
- Instructor Alice K. attended the Deafblind International (DbI) 18th International World Conference in Ottawa, Canada July 22-28, 2023. This conference included approximately 600 in-person members of the global DeafBlind community including Leadership and Front-Line professionals; Deafblind individuals & support professionals, DbI Members & Staff, Content Experts, Students, and Key Industry Stakeholders. Alice was honored to be invited to present a poster on her master’s thesis the “Role of Touch for Supporting Orientation and Mobility of DeafBlind Adults”. As the chair of DSB’s newly formed DeafBlind Services Committee, Alice plans to use the knowledge and connections from this conference to help improve services and outreach to Washington’s DeafBlind community.
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 3 – EMPLOYMENT AT EVERY LAYER
- A few months ago, the OTC held another Intensive Workshop week which was very successful. One of the students works at Microsoft, but he came to gain more skills in Orientation and Mobility. Other students who attended wanted a brush-up on some skills so that they could either go back to school or resume their current jobs. Everyone who attended was pleased with their experience.
EAST REGIONAL VR HIGHLIGHTS
YAKAIMA AND SPOKANE FIELD OFFICES
- Spokane participant TW recently graduated from the OTC. While there they worked an internship at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library, and challenged themselves by going indoor sky diving as part of their OTC Capstone project.
- A participant in the Yakima office is starting a degree program in Library Science, and searching hard for an internship. Because she only has the full use of one hand, DSB provided her with Dragon Dictate, along with Dragon software. With this solution she can write and edit her research papers much more quickly than she could using JAWS alone and is taking to this new software very well.
- AT Specialist Donna Elkins in the Spokane office has been working with a DSB participant and an employer in the mental health field to make the software used for recording sessions more accessible to the participant, while also remaining HIPAA compliant. This employer is hopeful to make this software more accessible not only for the participant but for future employees who may be blind/low vision as well.
- Taurus Richardson, VRC in Spokane, has a participant Courtney M who applied for and was offered a position working as a mentor for the Bridge Program at Eastern Washington University. Courtney felt the Bridge Program was a wonderful experience! And that it truly helped build her skills toward becoming a Special Education Teacher. Through the Bridge program the participant has learned how to advocate for herself and others. She has also gained experience writing notes and reports for each participant; this is a skill that she will utilize when updating a student’s IEP (Individualized Education Program). Courtney’s main duties as a Bridge mentor included setting a positive example of independent living, contributing to the discussions about being a responsible college student, writing notes and reports, and being available to solve and/or mediate conflicts in the dorm. She was very appreciative and thankful for this opportunity to learn and expand her leadership skills.
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1 – DSB STORY
- Communications Manager LaDell Lockwood, Pre-ETS Specialist Ryan Scott, and VRC Taurus Richardson attended a conference put on by the Washington Association of School Administrators and the Association of Washington School Principals which is geared to school administrators and professionals in the field. This is the second year that DSB has attended this conference in Spokane, Washington. DSB staff networked with other vendors and talked to administrators across Washington about DSB and the pre-employment transition services available for students with a visual disability.
AGENCY COMMUNICATIONS REPORT
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #1.2 – TARGETING THE DSB MESSAGE
Benton & Franklin County Workforce Development Council Communications Plan
Developed and implemented plan to promote DSB services to specified audiences and funded through the BFWDC grant.
- Radio advertising ran from late January through June 30, 2023.
- Providing monthly report to BFWDC
Year-to-year referral numbers in Benton and Franklin Counties during the months of the 2023 advertising campaign.
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #2.1 ENHANCE AGENCY CAPACITY AND CORE COMPETENCIES
Data Governance Team
- Developed training and communications to inform staff on improving the Agency’s Records Retention efforts at the April All-Staff meeting.
- Monthly meetings, trainings, and discussions.
ReVision VR Discussion Workgroup
- Monthly meetings, discussions to update processes.
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #2.2 ENHANCE RECRUITMENT, RETENTION AND SUCCESSION
Communications Office Knowledge Transfer
- Ongoing updates to Communications “How-To” Desk Manual to share and preserve knowledge of office duties and activities.
- Working with HR staff to rewrite DSB position announcements to increase appeal and click-through on non-governmental job boards and social media
Website Analytics Overview
Website use overview:
|Users||Number of unique individuals who visited the site||5,702||-362|
|New Users||Individuals visiting the site for the first time||5,387||-474|
|Sessions||Number of times a user is active engaged with the website.||7,476||-540|
|Page Views||Number of pages looked at||16,841||-2,128|
How people found the website:
|Organic Search||Used Google, Bing, or another search engine to find the site.||3,540||60.93%||-202|
|Direct||Typed in the URL.||1,965||33.82%||-248|
|Referral||Clicked a link on a different website.||214||3.68%||+22|
|Social||Clicked on a link from a social media platform.||90||1.55%||+59|
|Clicked on a link embedded in an email message.||1||0.02%||+1|
Type of device used to view the website (per session):
Online Referral Forms
|Total Followers||The number of people/pages that follow the page||527||+11|
|Total Reach||The number of people who had any content from or
about the page enter their screen through unpaid
Top Five Facebook Posts
|One week left to apply for the Washington State Youth Leadership Forum||May 25||413|
|DSB searching for VRC4 (Lacey)||May 17||361|
|We're Hiring! Rehabilitation Technician 2||May 15||263|
|DSB Searching for VRC4 (Lacey)||May 30||223|
|DSB is hiring Orientation and Training Center Instructor (Seattle)||April 19||203|
|Total Followers||Number of people that follows the account||330||+16|
|Number of views when an update is at least 50% on screen or when it is
clicked, whichever comes first.
|FOR PAID POSTINGS ONLY. Number of views when an update is at
least 50% on screen or when it is clicked, whichever comes first.
Calculated as: (Clicks + Likes + Comments + Shares + Follows) / Impressions
Top Five LinkedIn Posts - Organic
|OTC Instructor (Rehabilitation Teacher 3)||May 31||130|
|Are you passionate...DSB jobs||June 20||105|
|Are you passionate...DSB jobs||June 12||98|
|Are you passionate...DSB jobs||June 15||84|
|Contracts Specialist 2 (in training)||June 6||61|
Sponsored LinkedIn Posts
|Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 4 (Lacey)||May 17||22,915|
|Rehabilitation Technician 2 (Yakima)||May 10||42,156|
OTHER COMMUNICATIONS EVENTS / MEETINGS / TRAININGS
- State Agency Communications Directors Meetings
- State Agency Social Media Collaborative
- DSB All Staff Meeting
April 23-26, Vancouver, WA
- FEMA Emergency Management Institute Public Information Officer Awareness
May 30-31, Virtual
- DSB Spring Town Hall
May 17, Virtual
- Hope Vision Foundation Resource Fair
May 20, Gig Harbor, WA
- FEMA Emergency Management Institute Public Information Officer Basics
June 20-22, Camp Murray, WA
- Washington Association of School Administrators/Association of Washington School Principals Summer Conference
June 25-27, Spokane, WA
The 2023 Regular Session adjourned sine die on April 23, 2023. The following bills of interest were passed:
- SB 5243 - Concerning high school and beyond planning.
Chapter 271, 2023 Laws. Effective date 7/23/2023.
Federal Fiscal Year Q3 2023, through June 30, 2022
2023 STATE FISCAL YEAR – REVIEW THROUGH JUNE 30, 2023 (IN THOUSANDS)
|General Fund - State||$ 4,331||$ 4,288||$ 43|
|General Fund - Federal||$ 14,769||$ 11,935||$ 2,834|
|Donations||$ 26||$ 26||$ 0|
|BEP Remodel||$ 1,652||$ 1,163||$ 489|
|BEP Operations *||$ 960||$ 960||$ 0|
|Statewide Technology Pool||$ 252||$ 204||$ 48|
|Total||$ 21,991||$ 18,576||$ 3,415|
* Allotment authority represents estimated revenue and GFS.
2023 STATE FISCAL YEAR – FEDERAL GRANT FUNDS THROUGH JUNE 30, 2023 (IN THOUSANDS)
|2021 Voc. Rehab Basic Services -
$1.8 million is for Pre-ETS set aside
|$ 12,026||$ 9,275||$ 2,751||$ 0|
|2022 Voc. Rehab. Basic Services -
$1.4 million is for Pre-ETS set aside
|$ 10,472||$ 3||$ 8,056||$ 2,413|
|2023 Voc. Rehab. Basic Services||$ 13,167||$ 0||$ 0||$ 13,167|
|2023 Supported Employment
(youth and adult)
|$ 47||$ 0||< $ 1||$ 47|
|2022 IL Older Blind||$ 677||$ 0||$ 623||$ 54|
|2023 IL Older Blind||$ 674||$ 0||$ 0||$ 674|
|Total||$ 37,063||$ 9,278||$ 11,430||$ 16,355|
2023 STATE FISCAL YEAR – TOTAL EXPENDITURES BY PROGRAM THROUGH JUNE 30, 2023 (IN THOUSANDS)
|Voc. Rehab Services Adults||$ 8,954||$ 4,259||11||$ 13,224|
|Voc. Rehab Pre-ETS||$ 1,853||0||$ 0||$ 1,853|
|Supported Employment||< $ 1||$ 0||$ 0||< $ 1|
|Independent Living Part B||$ 0||$ 32||$ 0||$ 32|
|IL Older Blind||$ 662||$ 151||$ 0||$ 773|
|Birth through 13||$ 0||$ 0||$ 15||$ 15|
|Social Security||$ 0||$ 0||$ 505||$ 505|
|State Only Fund for Non-Allowable
|$ 0||$ 83||$ 0||$ 83|
|Business Enterprise Program||$ 0||$ 1,163||$ 961||$ 2,214|
|Total||$ 11,430||$ 5,688||$ 1,492||$ 18,610|
SPENDING TARGETS FOR PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION SERVICES SET ASIDE
EXPENDITURES THROUGH JUNE 30, 2023 (IN THOUSANDS)
|$ 12,026||$ 1,804||$ 1,804||$ 0|
|$ 10,472||$ 1,571||$ 1,021||$ 549|
|$ 13,167||$ 1,975||$ 0||$ 1,975|
- Independent Living: DSB has been funded with state general fund dollars in the amount of $184,000 for SFY 2024 and $367,000 for SFY 2025 for a total of $551,000 to provide Independent Living services.
- DSB received a transfer of $3 million in federal VR grant funds from Washington General (DVR) for the FFY 2023 VR grant. This also increased the Pre-ETS set aside requirement by $450,000.
- DSB transferred all Supported Employment federal grants to Washington General (DVR) starting with the FFY 2023 VR grant.
HUMAN RESOURCES UPDATE
|Personnel||Job Title||Team||Duty Station||Effective Date|
|Meggan Cavan||Contracts Specialist 2 - in training||Operations||HQ||07/31/2023|
|Jennifer Zamprelli||HR Admin Support||HR||HQ||07/16/2023|
|Emily Barahal||Program Specialist 3||Pre-ETS||Tacoma||05/01/2023|
RETIREMENTS / END OF SERVICE
|Personnel||Job Title||Team||Duty Station||Effective Date|
|Joy Iverson||Braille Instructor||OTC||Seattle||08/01/2023|
|Kim Massey||Home Management Instructor||OTC||Seattle||05/31/2023|