DSB Quarterly Report

Quarterly Reports are presented to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind during their quarterly meetings. 

Previous Quarterly Reports

 

Quarterly Report, FFY 2022, 1st Quarter

October 2021 - December 2021

Presented to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind
December 10, 2021

 

CONTENTS

 

INDEPENDENT LIVING BLIND SKILLS SERVICES 

CLIENT SERVICES

FEDERAL FISCAL YEAR (FFY) 2021, QUARTER 1 VERSUS FEDERAL FISCAL YEAR 2022, QUARTER 1

In previous IL reports, client data was for a single year and information was provided for each program, both Younger Blind and Older Blind. Data will now show combined program totals and the report will compare the previous year’s data to the current year.

CLIENT AND CASE TRENDS

Trend FFY 2021, Q1 FFY 2022, Q1
All clients
(The first quarter of FFY 2021 [October 2020-December 2020] has quite a few more clients served, likely due to reopening clients who were only closed in September 2020 because of a migration from one database to another.)
206 clients  166 clients 
Clients under age 24 0 Not applicable
Clients over age 100 Not applicable 1 client
(age 104)
Clients who identify as a minority 14% of all clients 15% of all clients
Homeless Clients 1 client
Clark County)
1 client
(Benton County)
Clients who have multiple disabilities 29% of all clients 35% of all clients
Clients with household incomes $30,000 or less 59% of all clients 57% of all clients
Cost per case average $660 $650

FFY 2022 PRELIMINARY OUTCOMES

Three most popular Assistive Technology categories of devices provided:

  1. Digital handheld magnifiers
  2. Address books
  3. Writing guides
  4. Handheld magnifiers

Clients who feel more independent and more confident in maintaining their current living situation:

Out of 99 clients closed in FFY 2022 to date, 87 reported being more confident in their current living situation and with the independent living skills.

Counties without clients served:

Clallam; Columbia; Ferry; Franklin; Garfield; Kittitas; Klickitat; Pacific; Pend Oreille; San Juan; Skagit; Skamania; Wahkiakum; Walla Walla; and Yakima.

Note: Several counties in Central-Southeast Washington are currently without a provider. Edith Bishel Center discontinued their contract at the end of the previous federal fiscal year. The IL Program is working with Sheila Turner, previously employed by Edith Bishel Center, to take on the contract to cover this territory.
 

SUCCESS STORY VIGNETTES

Fern, who is 45, became blind as a result of a traumatic brain injury following a serious car accident several years ago. The car accident left her with several other impairments, including hearing loss in her right ear, the use of only her right hand which she uses to operate her power chair in the home and community with limited success, and a speech impairment that causes her to have to speak slowly and occasionally repeat herself. Fern also needs a caregiver for basic hygiene and other personal needs. Despite these challenges, she has maintained a positive outlook on life. This positive outlook makes her open to trying new things.

During her initial assessment with her IL Specialist, she expressed an interest in being able to access printed text. The IL Specialist and Fern discussed the pros and cons of accessing information with smart speakers, including Alexa, and digital handheld magnifiers. The IL Specialist determined that she would be a great candidate for a Ruby – a digital magnifier, which the IL Program has made available to some clients through an AT lending program. Fern was delighted and took to the Ruby right away. In addition, her IL Specialist wanted her to try out an Echo smart speaker, available through the same lending program, so he introduced her to Alexa. Fern was very excited to get to know Alexa. The two experienced some growing pains, as Fern learned how to get Alexa to do what she needs. Fern’s speech issues sometimes made it take a few times to get Alexa to understand what she was asking, but Fern persisted. Before services ended, she was regularly using her magnifier and Alexa to access all of the information and text she wanted. Both the IL Specialist and Fern were thrilled that she was able to accomplish her goals by keeping an open mind and trying new things!

RECENT CLIENT FEEDBACK

The IL Program recently launched an AT lending program. This program lends out devices, including desktop video magnifiers (CCTV), digital handheld magnifiers, phones, tablets, and smart speakers. Recipients are IL clients and the devices are provided free of charge for as long as the client needs the device. Here are a few comments from recipients:

From a client who received a Pebble (digital handheld magnifier): I haven't used all of the advanced features, but I use what I can. I use it for reading scripture, for reading recipes and food labels and other packaging. It sits on the dining room table ready for use!

From a client who received a Ruby (digital handheld magnifier): I use it for reading mail, and directions on frozen food boxes. I also use it for reading word games. Thank you for providing it; the Ruby has made life easier.

From a client who received an iPhone: I use the phone to make calls and listen to my text messaging, utilizing text to voice. I am grateful for this program as it allows me the freedom of using a phone despite my limited abilities. Thank you!

From a client who received a DaVinci Pro (desktop video magnifier): I couldn't believe it when a DaVinci Pro landed on our porch this morning, just two days after I talked with the Lighthouse's Maya Herzog. Since I have a tech background, we decided to just have her ship the thing to me, and I was shocked to find it here in just 2 days! I already have it up and running and have used it to read a book that I've needed to read but was not available in digital or audible format. Also set up the OCR to my liking and it works great that way as well. The device is a real gift, and I am so grateful for this program!

Return to top

 

BUSINESS ENTERPRISE PROGRAM (BEP) 

FACILITIES UPDATE

The BEP continues to manage the program at a minimal pace with no major changes to report. We are now at eight operations which is up from previous seven. We were able to re-open the LNI facility in November with minimal food and beverage options. 

As discussed for the past six quarters, the impact to the BEP is beyond reasonable at this point. We have never seen a period like this, and we’ve have used every resource and tool in our kit to navigate it. Our vendors hold out hope and are eager to return yet continue to get mixed messages about a return. The losses to the program and owners keep mounting. Our fiscal year ended at 78% less revenue, profit, and net income than our pre-Covid numbers which is very alarming to all. At the same time this is the story across the country in the BEP which is a bigger story for the entire program.

We continue to see huge impacts across supply chains and logistics along with record prices, no customers, or limited customers, rising wages, taxes, and more. In November alone, we had the highest inflation factor on food in a 30-year period at 7.8% rise. The side effect is the owners are not able to raise prices to compensate for costs due to the fear of lost sales or upsetting the few customers available. Our suppliers tell us to expect hiccups until late 2022 and there is not much anyone can do about it.

Another big impact this quarter was navigating the vaccine mandate and ensuring all of our active vendors met the criteria and our outside suppliers too. This was a significant undertaking with countless emails, letters, follow up, and even some E-team involvement to decide how to proceed with someone who did not comply. Fortunately, we found solutions along the way.

The feasibility study we shared in the last report was moved into a budget decision package that made the Governor’s budget. We answered quite a few questions along with the E-team to get it there. That is a huge win for all of us. The vendors are hopeful that the package will go through in the pending session. 

The BEP team continues support remotely and in the field for those who are open. Our time is still spent holding business coaching sessions and assisting vendors any way possible. Our regular Zoom calls with vendors continue every other week and we held a hybrid All State meeting where 12 out of 14 owners were present for the day along with two trainees and four licensees.

TRAINING AND POTENTIAL NEW VENDOR UPDATE

Both of our Trainees have made major milestones this period. Tanner Deck completed all his requirements and became a Licensee in early November. John Chang is operating a facility in Seattle under a management contract to demonstrate his experience, along with meeting job training needs specific to food industry while completing his Hadley courses. We expect to approve his license by March.

STAFF UPDATE

The BEP team continues to explore ways to recharge and regroup as individuals and as a team. It is not easy by any stretch; however, is critical for the future. The E-team has been very supportive of our needs around workplace flexibility. We are here for the long-haul and are doing everything we can to assist the program in being sustainable and successful.

Return to top

 

CUSTOMER SERVICES

SNAPSHOT OF PERFORMANCE COMPARISON: [Q1 FFY22 VS Q1 FFY21]

  • New VR Applications [83 vs 61]
  • VR Customers Receiving Planned Services [762 vs 751]
  • VR Customers Added to Wait List [0 vs 0] 
  • VR Customers Released from Wait List [0 vs 0] (All categories opened 5/5/20)
  • Students with a Disability served [343 vs 331]
  • Competitive Employment Outcomes [vs 9] 
  • Average Hourly Wage FFY22 Q1 [$24.89 vs $19.49] 

EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES

Successful placements made this quarter:

Job Title Employer County / Region
Therapists, All Other Abused Deaf Women's Advocacy Services North / King
Customer service Representatives University of Washington North / King
General and Operations Managers Glenhaven Lakes Club North / Whatcom
First-Line Supervisors of Mechanics, Installers, and Repairers Seaview Buick GMC North / Snohomish
web and Digital Interface Designers Independent Contractor North / Whatcom
Rehabilitation Counselors Washington State Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) North / King

Wages

Average hourly wage all employment outcomes at Q1: $24.89

Age ranges 

  • Percentage of participants age 55 and older who exited with employment outcome: 27%
  • Eldest with employment outcome:
    Age 59 – Customer Service Representative
  • Youngest with employment outcome:
    Age 29 – Rehabilitation Counselor

Return to top

 

YOUTH SERVICES 

SPENDING TARGETS FOR PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION SERVICES SET ASIDE EXPENDITURES THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2021 (IN THOUSANDS)

Federal Grant Grant Amount Pre-ETS Set Aside Pre- ETS
Spent Dollars
Unspent
Balance
FFY 2020
(ends 09/30/21)
$ 9,389 $ 1,408 $ 1,357 $51
FFY 2021
(ended 09/30/22)
$ 12,026 $ 1,804 $ 0 $ 1,804

DSB/WSSB PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION SERVICES AND YOUTH SERVICES ACTIVITIES

Retirements and Welcoming a New Youth Services Manager

This quarter Youth Services faced a lot of changes with the current Youth Services Manager, Debbie Brown stepping away into retirement land. With this move came a new Youth Services Manager, Deja Powell. Deja is originally from Salt Lake City, Utah, and has over 10 years of work in the blindness field in a variety of capacities. Some previous work includes being a National Orientation and Mobility Certified cane travel instructor for K-12 students, adults, and seniors. She also managed programs for the Professional Development and Research Institute on Blindness at Louisiana Tech University (Ruston, Louisiana), Co-directed Project STRIVE (Salt Lake City, Utah), and most recently managed the Orientation and Training Center (OTC) at DSB. Deja is blind herself and has a life-long passion for the education of blind kids and their families.

National Federation of the Blind of Washington Fall Convention 

DSB Youth Services was proud to partner with the National Federation of the Blind of Washington (NFBW) to offer special youth driven content at NFBW’s Annual 2021 Virtual Convention on November 5th-7th, 2021. Our youth participants who attended were able to participate in virtual activities that promoted Pre-Employment skills such as Leadership Skills, Social Skills, and Team Building skills. All youth participants shared in the fun with tactical and social activities to promote unity among their peers in the blind and low vision community. Participants were also able to engage in array of inclusive workshops at the convention such as a Job Seeker Seminar to learn about different careers, how to be prepared for that important interview, and learned about the new NFB Direct that will soon be available to job seekers and employers together. Speakers from Amazon, a published author, Elsa Sjunneson, and a disability rights activist also presented at the convention. Overall, the NFBW brought in a lot of topics of inclusivity and support for the blind community and allies making it a successful virtual convention and collaboration with DSB and our participants.

Washington Council of the Blind Fall Convention 

DSB and the Washington Council of the Blind Families Committee partnered to facilitate a virtual youth track at the WCB annual convention. Our focus was the science of sound. We invited Joey Stuckey to lead our youth through a science of sound interactive activity. Joey is a blind audio engineer and owns a music studio in Georgia. We sent the students kits of materials and during the zoom call they were instructed to use the various materials to both amplify and dampen sound from their own cell phones. About ten students participated. Joey provided an amazing career exploration opportunity to the youth. We also had a career panel of individuals that work with sound and media in their career. About 10 students participated in the panel.

Good Vibe Fridays 

Good Vibe Fridays continues to be a welcoming, safe, and valuable space for teens with visual impairments across Washington state. This year our monthly calls are facilitated by youth peer leaders who have visual impairments themselves. These peer leaders are paid through a DSB work-based learning experience. They are gaining confidence and skills of facilitation with every monthly group. Group topics have focused on self-care, healthy relationships, internalized ableism and tokenization, and cultural heritage and its intersection with disability. On average about ten students attend each social group.

Newsletter Internship 

Our DSB newsletter interns came out with the fall issue of their quarterly newsletter, The DSB Buzz which focused on college and scholarships. One article was on the benefits of trade school and alternatives to post-secondary education. Our newsletter intern interviewed two women who participated in a work training program through World Services for the Blind and are now assistive technology specialists and business owners. Our interns also wrote an article discussing scholarships and specifically wrote about the scholarships offered through the Washington Council of the Blind and the National Federation for the Blind Washington. They gave student readers great advice when applying for scholarships and college.

Program Development Interns 

Two Interns have been working with YS staff to plan a virtual program for youth 9-13 years old. They have developed a virtual workshop series called Youth Career Exploration Workshop (YCEW). This five-part series will highlight careers in the STEM fields, education, arts, and entertainment, medical and government. The interns have been contacting possible guest speakers for the program. They have created a flier and YSS will distribute to EVE and age 9-13 Pre-ETS.

Friendsgiving 

In November, YS Specialists were excited to offer our first in-person workshop after a year and a half. We kept our numbers low to facilitate physical distancing. We were also very careful to practice COVID protocols throughout the workshop. 

Participants practiced measuring, stirring, using a recipe, and adding ingredients together to prepare a dish. They also practice peeling and slicing. Our goals were to help our participants learn these ADL skills so they could help their families confidently to prepare parts of the Thanksgiving meal.

DSB, We Give Back 

We completed our first-ever “DSB, We Give Back” event in December to teach our blind youth that there is great joy in giving back, and to teach a variety of blindness, social, and money-management skills. Participants met at a grocery store in Woodinville and were given a list of items from a community family in need. The students were also given a budget in which they must stick to during their shopping experience. Then participants ventured across the parking lot to Target to do their shopping. 

Each group picked out a variety of items needed by the family, some using customer assistance for help, other using their canes and other alternative techniques to shop. One group of boys was tasked with picking out a Barbie doll for a child in need, and while their faces blushed in the process, they found the perfect gift for the child they were shopping for. The participants then had to go the check-stand and pay. Most stayed within their budget, and we were able to provide Christmas for a family. We also had lunch at the grocery store deli. Participants had to learn to navigate lines, place an order, collect, and carry their food to a table, and more. It was a fun-filled day for all—a tradition we hope will continue for DSB Youth Services.

YS Video Project 

After much hard work we are excited to say the Youth Services video created by two of our youth interns is now complete. Both worked hard to collect footage and sound clips from virtual programs, past youth activities, etc. Two videos were created, both with the same content but one has audio description, and one does not. The video tells the story of DSB summer programs. Both have expressed to project managers Jen and Janet how much they have learned over the past seven months. A link to this video will be available soon and will be shared with those on the SRC.

Return to top

 

ORIENTATION AND TRAINING CENTER HIGHLIGHTS 

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1 – TELLING THE DSB STORY

OTC Spotlight on Myles Hustad

It is common for people to have a plan or an idea about what life can look like or be, including where they’ll live, if they’ll marry, and what sort of general career they’d like to have. Many times those plans get changed, and sometimes, those changes happen rather quickly, taking a person by surprise. Due to blindness, Myles Hustad knows very well what it is to have his life take a 180 degree turn and foregoing those initial plans for which he worked hard. He also learned that life with these new changes can be good.

At first glance, one could say that Myles had what might be known as the perfect early life. He and his four siblings were raised in a loving Christian family to a father who was an engineer and a mother who was a doctor. Education and success were a normal part of Myles’ upbringing. As a matter of fact, it was one year before he was to finish his undergraduate studies to be an electrical engineer where Myles’ story and blindness journey truly begins.

Myles was born with Usher syndrome. Usher syndrome involves both hearing and vision loss. The hearing loss may be mild to complete. The vision problem is called retinitis pigmentosa. Myles was always hard of hearing, and although many times, it made him feel like an outsider to much of his world, he was used to it. He still read regular print, drove a car, and lived his life as any other sighted person. Then, Myles noticed himself having accidents, on a more frequent basis. “I wasn’t seeing stuff, and I was either walking into or tripping over things.” These incidents lead to Myles going to see an eye doctor, because he was worried about whether or not something was wrong with his vision. It was there where he received the bad news that he had RP and would probably eventually go blind. The news hit Myles hard! A mixture of worsening vision and not quite knowing how to handle his new reality, Myles continued finishing his degree program; however, what should have taken only a year to complete ended up taking 2.5. This also hit Myles hard. He was used to things being fairly easy, yet things were becoming more challenging for him.

After finishing his studies in Utah, Myles moved to Washington. He received another hard blow, reminding him that his vision was progressively getting worse. “After I moved to Washington, I went to obtain a WA state driver’s license. I failed the vision test with flying colors!” Needless to say, it was difficult for Myles knowing he would never drive again and giving up his license.

He went through many things, including some depression, fear, and anxiety. Losing his vision was a very scary concept to be confronted with, and he was already hard of hearing. What would all of this mean for him and his future? No matter what, Myles had to be realistic and knew he needed to move forward with his life. How? 

Myles began researching possible resources that would help him deal with his vision loss. Early in his research, he found and connected with DSB. Someone was sent to his home to do an assessment and let him know about the various programs and services DSB could offer him. Myles’ vocational rehab counselor was Harry Whiting, and Harry told Myles that he would do what he could to help him move forward. One of the first programs Harry told Myles about was the OTC. He talked about the importance of obtaining blindness skills training. 

While Harry was persistent and enthusiastic about Myles attending the OTC, Myles had mixed feelings. On one hand, he just wanted to bury his head in the sand and not deal with things. On the other hand, he was hopeful that he could simply find a job in his new career field, and with a job, he thought he could forget about things and move on with life. As time passed, Myles noticed that job offers weren’t coming his way. He finally decided that it wouldn’t hurt him to receive training while he waited for a good job opportunity. Meanwhile, Harry arranged for Myles to attend an Intensive Workshop week at the OTC. Little did Myles know that he’d have company. His older sister Christel also decided to attend, and they ended up both going and were students at the same time! The surprises kept coming for Myles, because as soon as the Intensive Workshop week was over, Myles and Christel were both notified that there was a place for them to immediately begin as fulltime students. Everything seemed to be falling into place.

For Myles, his time at the OTC was full of exciting opportunities and tough challenges to deal with and overcome. First, he met a whole new group of people, of all walks of life, cultures, and varying degrees of blindness. Being around the students forced Myles out of his shell, which for him was a good thing. Prior to the OTC, and due to his hearing loss, Myles felt like an outsider to groups of people. He often felt as if he couldn’t relate well to others. Suddenly, he found a group of people that made him feel as if he belonged. As time went on, Myles was actually a student leader, helping with hosting social events and doing student projects. He enjoyed discovering a different side of himself. Being around the other students, Myles felt encouraged to put forth the necessary effort to do his best in his classes. In retrospect, Myles says that he probably could have put forth much more effort than he did, but he also felt that discovering the new social side of him was a good thing and helped him through his time at the OTC.

Classes were very different for Myles. First of all, he hated using sleep shades. Although he understood and went along with the concept, he wasn’t ready to do things completely without vision. Classes such as Braille and Orientation and Mobility were tough. Myles was thankful that at times, his teachers were willing to work with him, adapting certain aspects of the classes to help cope with his hearing loss. Computers was a class that fit somewhere in the middle. He had a tough time understanding and using the screen reading program, but he took to the various and sundry key commands and uses them to this day. Perhaps Home Ec was the class that came easiest to Myles. He was already used to cooking, and once he learned the adaptive safety skills, Myles had fun creating recipes and completing his milestones. Finally, Seminar allowed Myles to think out of the box and learn about living with blindness. At times, what he thought were silly or smart aleck comments were well received by the group, leading to interesting discussions. At first, Myles was surprised, but he ended up enjoying and learning from the discussions.

“The biggest thing I got out of the OTC was that it’s not the end of the world if a person is blind or losing vision. Life does go on. The OTC is a good place for a person to gain both independence and confidence, which are very important for one’s mental health. I’m definitely a big fan of the OTC.”

Things weren’t easy for Myles after he graduated from the OTC. He spent another year looking for a job and receiving rejection letters. Myles always did his best during interviews, but he wasn’t getting job offers. It took some time, but Myles came to an important and hard realization. “I finally accepted the reality that in the sort of work that I’d do, my blindness was considered too much of a liability. I was never able to surpass the first interview. The way I approached my blindness didn’t seem to matter to the people interviewing me.”

Of course, the confidence Myles began obtaining at the OTC wavered for a while after this realization. He went into a small funk for a while, but again, he knew he had to get his life in order and see what he would do next.

Myles did a lot of soul searching and praying during this time. He also developed a friendship with a retired counselor who happened to be blind and who happened to have the same eye condition as Myles. This was a good thing which got Myles thinking of a new and different career. The more he researched it, the more he thought that going into the counseling profession would be a good fit for him. Myles applied to some schools, and the two particular schools that interested him called him for interviews. He did so well that he was accepted to and enrolled at Regent University’s counseling program. “It has been an adventure ever since!”, remarked Myles with a chuckle.

At times, the workload is difficult and exhausting. Reading seems to be the thing that takes the most time. Learning the material itself is not a problem. “Until last semester, I was a 4.0 student. I finally got my first A-, and now my GPA is 3.97.” If all goes well, Myles will be graduating in May 2022. Currently, he is doing a practicum, and he has decided to be a marriage and family counselor once he obtains his license.

All work and no play makes Myles a dull boy. And there is more to Myles’ life than just school and his practicum. Myles is a newlywed, having gotten married during the last part of 2021. He is quite happy. He and his new bride currently reside in Utah, and they will continue living there while Myles graduates, finishes his practicum, and decides what he will do next and where he will want to eventually set up his private practice.

It took much time and effort, but Myles is in a good place in life. He offered the following words of wisdom.

“If you’re at a point of feeling discouraged or confused, it is not the time to give up. Look for the resources that will help you achieve your goals. Make sure and advocate for yourself when necessary. Most importantly, keep on trying!”

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 2 – DSB EXPERTISE

The OTC continues getting back to normal every-day operations. Everyone is thrilled, and everything is going well. We are at 50% capacity at the apartments, and hopefully by March we will be at least at 75%. We continue to be safe and follow the necessary protocol, but we are also showing our students that living life to its best is a part of our training.

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 3 – EMPLOYMENT AT EVERY LAYER 

These past two months, the OTC has been partnering with Carl Peterson, DSB’s Business Engagement and Workforce Program Manager, to coordinate and present some career related presentations for our students and other DSB clients. We had a presentation on two particular Apprenticeship programs. We had another presentation on how to effectively apply for state jobs. They were very informative, and the students learned much. The OTC will continue working with Carl on providing more presentations and reestablishing our Community Internship program.

Return to top

 

REGIONAL VR HIGHLIGHTS

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 2 – DSB EXPERTISE

  • AT Specialist Reginald George in Yakima has been keeping busy with the following:
    • He is a member of the Access Solutions Committee for Columbia Basin Work Source Center in Kennewick; last year they worked on a survey for participants and monitored those results.
    • Has reviewed his CATIS certification and taken multiple continuing education credits with ACVREP in a continuing effort to update his product knowledge.
    • Attended the Washington Council of the Blind state convention to network with consumers and take advantage of training opportunities.
  • Michael Skog, Rehab Tech for the Spokane office, was appointed East Region Lead for the Spokane and Yakima offices in December.
  • Washington State School for the Blind has hired a new outreach TVI out of Spokane. She needs mobility hours, as she is training to be an orientation and mobility specialist and has been shadowing Lena Norton, Rehab Teacher in Spokane. Lena was able to explain our phenomenal youth programs including YES 1, YES 2, Bridge, SWAG, and VIP. Hoping to see an uptick in registration for more rural Eastern Washington youth as Melinda is promoting our programs.
  • Laura Ozios-Townsend, AT Specialist in Tacoma, attended DSB AT three-day Dolphin SuperNova Magnifier and Screen Reader training, hosted by Irie-AT. She participated in the training to become proficient with the technology and be able to provide awesome customer service and additional options for participants.
  • Kara Thompson, VRC in Tacoma office, provided training: 
    • Deaf/HOH/DB Etiquette training for NEO Accessibility workshops to internal DSB staff. 
    • Virtual training with CAP (Client Assistance Program) Director Jennifer Bean, introduced herself and introduced her colleague, Doug. They discussed best practices. 
    • Virtual training - Culture of Engagement course

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 3 – EMPLOYMENT AT EVERY LEVEL 

  • Laura Ozios-Townsend, AT Specialist in Tacoma, met with owner Trevor Rice of SGA Inspection. Discussing accessibility of their Home Inspection Course. Trevor was open to making the course accessible to DSB participants, working with individual needs, to make sure they are successful on completed the program and sitting for State license.

Return to top

 

AGENCY COMMUNICATIONS REPORT

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #1.1 – GATHERING THE DSB STORY

Youth Services Quarterly Newsletter

Student interns gather stories for and by young people for the website and promotion through agency social media. 

National Disability Employment Month 

Interns created a series of articles focused on NDEAM for release through the month of October.
 for State license.

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #1.2 – TARGETING THE DSB MESSAGE

Youth Services Strategic Communications Plan

Working with Youth Services team to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that targets specific, defined audiences. 

  • Submitting Proposal for Presentation at PNWAER
    • Organization requesting presentations addressing all aspects of working with the blind and visually impaired: Education, Rehabilitation, O&M, Early Intervention, etc.
    • Developing a proposal for 70-minute general session presentation. 
  • Working on exhibiting at AWSP/WASA Annual Conference
    • Developing poster presentation for exhibit area
    • Registrations open January/February 2022

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #1.3 – TELLING THE STORY FOR HIGHEST IMPACT

National Disability Employment Awareness Month

Developed plan to promote National Disability Employment Awareness Month 2021. Theme: America’s Recovery: Powered by Inclusion.

  • Developed NDEAM webpages on dsb.wa.gov
    • Created page to highlight Youth Services NDEAM blog articles.
  • Proclamation requested and received from Governor
  • NDEAM press releases distributed to 154 media outlets statewide
  • Posted 94 social media posts highlighting NDEAM using #NDEAM #employment #inclusion

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #2.1 ENHANCE AGENCY CAPACITY AND CORE COMPETENCIES

Quick Bytes Training

  • Performed twice monthly trainings with Yvonne Verbraak to educate staff on topics related to adoption of Microsoft Teams and other document creation, and accessibility. All trainings included instructions on shortcut keys. 
    • No trainings in November & December due to holidays

Data Governance Team 

  • Developing training and communications to inform staff on the improving the Agency’s Records Retention efforts. 

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #2.2 ENHANCE RECRUITMENT, RETENTION AND SUCCESSION

Communications Office Knowledge Transfer

  • Regularly scheduled updates to Communications “How-To” documents to share and preserve knowledge of office duties and activities. 

ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS (10/01/21 – 12/31/21) 

Website Analytics

Website usage overview:

Metric Definition Current Change
Users Number of unique individuals who visited the site 5,366 +401
New Users Individuals visiting the site for the first time 5,143
(95.8%)
+387
Sessions Number of times a user is active engaged with the website. 6,811 +433
Page Views Number of pages looked at 1,465 -881

Channels

How people found the website:

Type Definition Users Percent Change
Organic Search Used Google, Bing, or another search engine to find the site. 2,777 51.75% +254
Direct Typed in the URL. 2,438 45.43% +202
Referral Clicked a link on a different website. 163 3.04% -23
Social Clicked on a link from a social media platform. 84 1.57% -32
Email Clicked on a link embedded in an email message. 1 0.02% NA

Technology 

Type of device used to view the website (per session):

Technology Used Users Percent Change
Desktop 3,489 65.01% +373
Mobile Phone 1,780 33.17% +45
Tablet 98 1.77% -20

Online Referral Forms

Type Users Change
Self-referrals 137 +48
Physician referrals 28 +1

Facebook

Analytics

Metric Definition Current Change
Total Likes Number of people that "liked" any post 407 +5
Total Followers The number of people/pages that follow the page 428 -18
Total Reach The number of people who had any content from  or
about the page enter their screen through unpaid
distribution
3,313 +1,517

Top Five Facebook Posts

Topic Date Reach
Above & Beyond Award - Mary Craig December 1 572
Above & Beyond Award - Kelli Anderson November 1 531
We're Hiring - HR Liaison & DEI Program Manager November 19 499
Above & Beyond Award - LaDell Lockwood October 1 157
NDEAM - Governor's Proclamation October 4 143

LinkedIn

Analytics

Metric Definition Current Change
Total Followers Number of people that follows the account 210 +26
Unique Impressions The number of people/pages that follow the page 1,751 +1,432

Engagement Rate
Calculated as: (Clicks + Likes + Comments + Shares + Follows) / Impressions

  Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Rate 5.42% 7.48% 15.47% 26.77% 7.49% 6.61%
Increase
over previous month
-93% +38% +107% +54% -68% -12%

Top Five LinkedIn Posts

Topic Date Reach
Above and Beyond Award - Mary Craig December 1 1,465
Above and Beyond Award - Kelli Anderson November 1 445
NDEAM - Governor's Proclamation October 4 90
We're Hiring - HR Liaison & DEI Program Manager November 19 82
Above & Beyond Award - LaDell Lockwood October 1 77

OTHER COMMUNICATIONS EVENTS / MEETINGS / TRAININGS

  • Communications Directors Meetings – ongoing, bi-weekly
  • November 1 – Washington Workforce Metrics Introduction
  • December 6 – NCSAB Fall Conference 

Return to top

 

FINANCIAL REPORT 

Federal Fiscal Year Q1 2022, through December 31, 2021

2022 STATE FISCAL YEAR – REVIEW THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2021 (IN THOUSANDS)

Source Allotment
Authority
Expenditures Balance
General Fund - State $ 3,826 $ 388 $ 3,438
General Fund - Federal $ 12,657 $ 6,625 $ 6,032
Donations $ 30 $ 8 $ 22
BEP $ 1,245 $ 303 $ 942
Total $ 1,7758 $ 7,324 $ 10,434

2022 STATE FISCAL YEAR – FEDERAL GRANT FUNDS THROUGH DECEMBER 31, 2021 (IN THOUSANDS)

Grant Grant
Amount
SFY 20 & SFY 21
Federal
Expenditures
SFY 22
Federal
Expenditures
Balance
2020 Voc. Rehab Basic Services - 
$1.4 million is for Pre-ETS set aside
$ 9,389 $ 8,504 $ 834 $ 51
2021 Voc. Rehab Basic Services -
$1.8 million is for Pre-ETS set aside
$ 12,026 $ 101 $ 5,248 $ 6,677
2021 Supported Employment $ 46 $ 4 $ 8 $ 34
2020 IL Older Blind $ 676 $ 547 $ 129 $ 0
2021 IL Older Blind $ 677 $ 0 $ 423 $ 254
Total $ 22,814 $ 9,156 $ 6,642 $ 7,016

2022 STATE FISCAL YEAR – TOTAL EXPENDITURES BY PROGRAM AS OF DECEMBER 31, 2021 (IN THOUSANDS)

Program Grant Funds State Other  Total
Voc. Rehab Services Adults $ 5,365 $ 364 $ 0 $ 5,729
Voc. Rehab Pre-ETS $ 717 $ 0 $ 0 $ 717
Supported Employment  $ 8 $ 0 $ 0 $ 8
Independent Living Part B $ 0 $ 24 $ 0 $ 24
IL Older Blind $ 552 $ 0 $ 0 $ 552
Birth through 8
(Not Grant Funded)
$ 0 $ 0 $ 8 $ 8
Social Security Revenue $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Business Enterprise Program $ 0 $ 7 $ 295 $ 302
Total $ 6,642 $ 395 $ 303 $ 7,340

WHAT’S HAPPENING IN THE WORLD OF DSB BUSINESS AND FINANCE?

  • FFY 2020 VR GRANT: DSB spent 100% of VR-Adult Federal grant funds and all but $51,000 of Pre-ETS set-aside.
  • Reallotment: DSB was successful in receiving $2.4 million of Federal reallotment funds for FFY 2021.
  • FFY 2021 VR Grant: DSB's state spend strategies in FFY 2021 allowed DSB to carryover approximately $9.8 million of the 2021 FFY VR grant into FFY 2022. We anticipate not needing to spend on the FFY 2022 VR grant until May 2022.

Return to top

 

HUMAN RESOURCES UPDATE

NEW HIRES/PROMOTIONS/TRANSFERS

Personnel Job Title Team Duty Station  Effective Date
Jennifer Zamprelli AA3 Admin Assistant Admin Lacey HQ 12/16/2021
Emily Rico VRC 4 In-Training Field Services Lacey FO 01/01/2022
Guiadcely Lucuab VRC 4 Field Services Seattle 01/16/2022
Nohemy Solorzano-Thompson  HR Liaison/DEI Program Manager  Admin Lacey HQ 02/01/2022
Eun-Gyong Rossow Non-Perm/Part-Time Braille Instructor  OTC  Seattle 02/09/2022
         

CURRENT AND FUTURE OPENINGS 

Status Job Title Team Duty Station  Effective Date
Recruiting FA4 Fiscal Analyst Fiscal Lacey HQ Interviewing
Recruiting PS3 Youth Services Specialist Youth Services  Vancouver Open until filled 
Recruiting PS3 Youth Services Specialist  Youth Services Spokane Open until filled
Recruiting IT Business Analyst Journey Level  Field Services  Spokane Interviewing
         

RETIREMENTS

Personnel Job Title Team Duty Station  Effective Date
Debbie Brown Youth Services Program Manager  Youth Services Spokane 12/31/2021
Meredith Hardin  South Region Area Manager Field Services Vancouver 12/31/2021

 

Return to top

 

Previous Quarterly Reports 

Fiscal Year 2022

Fiscal Year 2021

Fiscal Year 2020

Fiscal Year 2019

Fiscal Year 2018

Return to top