DSB Quarterly Report

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

Previous Quarterly Reports

 

Quarterly Report, FFY2020, 4th Quarter

July 2020 – September 2020

Presented to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind
December 11, 2020

 

CONTENTS

 

INDEPENDENT LIVING BLIND SKILLS SERVICES 

CLIENT SERVICES

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

October 2019 – September 2020

Trend Total YB OB
Total Cases 649 71
(11% of all
clients)
578
(89% of all
clients)
Service Delivery to Hispanic or Latino Clients 22 8 14
Service Delivery to Asian Clients 11 3 8
Centenarians (age 100 or older) Served 9 NA 9
Youth (24 or younger) Served 4 4 NA
Homeless Clients
all clients 60 years old or younger
0 0 0
Clients with Depression 126 20 106
Clients with Bone, Muscle, Skin, Joint, and Movement Disorders 
(includes Parkinson's, arthritis, and osteoporosis)*
280 17 263
Clients with Diabetes ** 137 25 112
Average Cost per Client   Not Available Not Available

IMPACT OF COVID-19 

Services have slowly resumed, but not a full capacity. Some providers are seeing clients in person and some are providing remote services. Providers were provided PPE and complete a health attestation whenever visiting clients in person. Clients are also required to wear PPE and sign a health attestation to receive in person services.

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BUSINESS ENTERPRISE PROGRAM (BEP) 

FACILITIES UPDATE

As reported at last meeting, on March 15 the world of BEP came to a screeching halt as the Stay at Home order took precedence in our communities. We rapidly shut down business, assisted owners with layoff procedures and questions for the future. 

We were optimistic for changes and the re-opening Phases outlined by Governor Inslee. We managed to get two facilities open with minimal services in late July and early August with hopes of more at Phase 4. On August 28, Governor Inslee once again put the plan on hold.

The impact over the summer to BEP is unprecedented and the financial losses keep piling up for the owners. They are very concerned about what the future may hold, what business will be like in near vacant buildings and whether the program can withstand the lost revenues as well.

The BEP team continued support remotely; we focused time on menu plans, safety plans, business coaching sessions and assisting vendors with PPP loans, Grants, Unemployment for staff and themselves. We also continued negotiating with all facilities in hopes of rent relief. Even though we are remote working, we began some site visits to businesses open in need of technical help or training to meet Health Guidelines. It has been good to be out in the field some.

To keep the spirits up we started bi-weekly Zoom calls with vendors to create a place for them to ask questions, share concerns and uplift one another as a group. We also used the platform to begin discussion of what our future program might be or could be. Essentially, Zoom became the place where we had to design a virtual All State meeting for October. Feedback from vendors has been terrific and they have shown appreciation for the creativity.

Lastly, this is a very challenging time for BEP and there is no roadmap to follow. We have never faced this kind of business adversity before nor has the Food Industry. What has been important to BEP is to discover the value of our Family, our collective spirit to succeed, and the committed drive to ensure the program is available for future blind entrepreneurs.

TRAINING AND POTENTIAL NEW VENDOR UPDATE 

Onsite training is still on hold because of COVID. However, one student is engaged with Hadley courses online and reports out frequently. Another student is determining how to proceed in the current unknown environment. 

In addition, we are still trying to find replacement classes for those recently discontinued at Hadley. These are pre-requisites and part of our evaluation process for program. 

We still hope upon return to a more normal business environment we can integrate a user-friendly hybrid training of Hadley, OJT and industry taught courses. We believe the candidates will be better equipped for long-term success.
 

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CUSTOMER SERVICES

SNAPSHOT OF PERFORMANCE COMPARISON: [Q3 FFY20 VS Q3 FFY19]

  • New VR Applications [237 vs 236]
  • VR Customers Receiving Planned Services [997 vs 1281]
  • VR Customers Added to Wait List [0 vs 204] 
  • VR Customers Released from Wait List [0 vs 149] (All categories opened 5/5/20)
  • Students with a Disability served [344 vs 439]
  • Competitive Employment Outcomes [59 vs 101]
  • Average Hourly Wage FFY20 Q4 [$20.70 vs $21.76] 
  • Average Hourly Wage for FFY20 $29.14 vs FFY19 $18.72

EMPLOYMENT OUTCOMES 

Successful placements made this quarter:

Job Title Employer Region/County
Janitors and Cleaners, Except Maids and Housekeeping Cleaners Service Alternatives East/Benton
Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other Self-employed North/King
Advertising Sales Agents Vizcaya Museum & Gardens East/Broward
Mental Health Counselors Comprehensive Health East/Yakima
Teachers and Instructors, All Other Gonzaga University East/Spokane
Customer Service Representatives IQ Credit Union South/Clark
Writers and Authors Self-employed North/King
First-Line Supervisors of Office and Administrative Support Workers Shawn Anderson North/King
Special Education Teachers, All Other Right at School North/Snohomish
Office and Administrative Support Workers, All Other Congregations for the Homeless North/King
Purchasing Agents, Except Wholesale, Retail, and Farm Products VA Puget Sound Health Care System South/Pierce
Office and Administrative Support Workers, All Other Dept. of Fish & Wildlife East/Chelan
Financial Analysts WA State Dept. of Licensing South/Thurston

Wages

Average hourly wage all employment outcomes at Q4: $27.09

Age ranges 

  • Percentage of participants age 55 and older who exited with employment outcome: 23%
  • Eldest with employment outcome: Age 64 – Self-employed as a Writer/Author
  • Youngest with employment outcome: Age 21 – Special Education Teacher

 

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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
FFY 2016
(ended 09/30/2017)
$ 8,730,218 $ 1,309,532 $ 1,291,505 $ 18,027
FFY 2017
(ended 09/30/2018)
$ 8,792,634 $ 1,318,895 $ 1,250,702 $ 68,193
FFY 2018
(ended 09/30/2019)
$ 11,454,960 $ 1,718,244 $ 1,718,224 $ 0
FFY 2019
(ended 09/30/2020)
$ 14,866,200 $ 2,229,930 $ 1,847,214 $ 382,716
FFY 2020
(ended 09/30/2021)
$ 9,388,988 $ 1,408,348 $ 0 $ 1,408,348

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

CREATING A VIRTUAL SUMMER PROGRAM FROM SCRATCH 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, DSB Youth Services (YS) team had to shift from in-person programs to all virtual programs only three months before the summer programs start date. Even though the YS Team prior to this summer had no experience with using this type of teaching environment for its programs, it was able to put together a very successful and well-received virtual summer program, which focused on job exploration, workplace readiness training and self-advocacy. 

To achieve this success, the YS team capitalized on the experience, skills and knowledge of its team members, other DSB staff, contractors and community partners. The virtual summer program consisted of seven modules and took place in July and August. Each module was offered in 4-5 weekly sessions lasting between one to two and half hours. With the exception of two modules, each was offered on a different day of the week, Monday through Friday. Here is a detailed look at what students were engaged in and learned during our 2020 virtual summer program.

“TELLING YOUR STORY” WITH JACK STRAW CULTURAL CENTER STUDENTS 

This module was offered on Mondays to students age 14-21. It focused on self-advocacy through various types of audio art forms. Space was limited in this workshop and twelve students participated in it. “Telling your Story” increased students’ confidence as speakers and performers while telling their story in creative ways. Participants worked with Jack Straw’s professional artist team to create Radio Theater and songs. Students could choose between three groups: Music and Song, Hip Hop, and Radio Theatre, and they stayed in that group for the duration of the module. 

In the Hip Hop group, students learned about the structure of Hip Hop songs, such as beats, bars and hooks. They decided which part of their personal story they wanted to tell in the song, wrote the lyrics and composed some of the music for the song they recorded. 

In the Music and Song group, they collaborated writing the lyrics and melody of a song about social justice, which they called “We are human”. Each student created one verse of the song, in which they explained what social justice meant to them and recorded this verse in their own voice. One student wrote the chords for the song. 

In the Radio Theatre group, youth shared personal stories related to their disabilities, which were turned into skits. Youth performed the different roles in the skits. They also created and recorded the sound effects needed for the skits, such as the tapping of a white cane, panting of a dog, and opening and closing of doors.

After the completion of the module, youth had the opportunity to present their audio art in a special session to friends, family members and DSB staff. During the session, youth shared about their experience in the module. They received a lot of praise from their audience for the audio art they had created.  

Jack Straw Youth Services Summer Program Recording

FINANCIAL BEGINNINGS

This module was offered on Tuesdays for students age 14-21. Fifteen youth participated in this module. It focused on workplace readiness by helping students develop financial management skills that are essential for successfully living independently. Two financial educators employed by Boeing Employees Credit Union, who volunteer for the non-profit agency Financial Beginnings, facilitated all the sessions of this module. They excelled at making the workshop fun and interactive by sharing interesting trivia related to the course content, telling personal stories about successes and mishaps in making financial decisions and engaging students in discussions and quizzes. 

Through a progressive and interactive series, students learned skills such as how to choose the right bank for their needs; how to construct a budget; when and why to use debit or credit cards; how to read pay stubs; and how to protect themselves from scams and identity theft. Students also acquired the knowledge to set smart financial goals based on their current and future wants and needs. 

CAREER EXPLORATION 

This module was offered on Wednesdays to students age 14-21. It showed students how they can create a path toward a career that they would enjoy. Nineteen students participated in this module. Two members of the DSB YS team taught this module in collaboration with “Partners in Careers”, a Vancouver based non-profit specializing in job development and coaching.
It focused on job exploration, work-based learning experiences, post-secondary exploration, self-advocacy, and work place readiness training. Students engaged in activities that showed them what careers were a good match for their strengths and interests; and heard personal stories about how others began working in successful careers and discovered what made a career a good fit for them. 

Mell Toy, assistant director of the ADA Center, was a guest speaker during one of the sessions and taught students what protections the Americans with Disabilities Act provides in the job search. Students also learned how to fill out job applications, write resumes, and present themselves well in job interviews to maximize their chances of being hired. During the last session, they had a chance to practice what they learned by engaging in mock job interviews. The YS Specialists, supported by colleagues from DSB’s VR and Executive team, were their mock interviewers.   

OH! THE POSSIBILITIES

This module was offered in form of an Adult Career Panel to students age 14-21. It focused on career exploration and self-advocacy. Seventeen students and some of their parents participated in this module. It showed students how current technology, as well as different worksite adaptations, allows people with vision loss to do just about any job. Each week, several adults who were blind or had low vision and whose profession fit into different career clusters such as arts and entertainment, STEM, medicine, and healthcare talked to the students and answered their questions. Some of these professionals were also entrepreneurs and able to share the benefits and challenges of owning their own businesses.

From scientists working at NASA, children book authors, and social workers, to massage therapists and physical therapists, students learned from these adults as they shared their life and career journeys, career highs and lows, and stories of how they had broken down barriers and myths of what visually impaired people can do. Panelists encouraged listeners to be creative, advocate for their needs, to be willing to put in the work it would take to get the job accomplished. They also stressed the importance of blindness skills and tools such as magnifiers, screen readers and the cane.

LET’S TALK ABOUT IT SOCIAL HOUR

This module was offered on Fridays to students age 14-21. It focused on self-advocacy, self-awareness and building social connections with peers. Two contractors, who had planned to help with the YES 2 program this summer, facilitated this workshop. Fifteen students participated in it. They learned from the experiences of their peers and mentors and discussed their own experiences as a young person. Throughout this module, students developed an understanding of their own 5 “Hs” (Heritage, High Times, Hard times, Heroes, and Hobbies) in order to become a good advocate for their own needs in life.

Whether at home with siblings and parents, or at school, students learned how to take initiative in their lives as they journey towards independence, all while virtually socializing with other students from around the state. In their own evaluations of the program, students expressed how meaningful this program was for them as a way to build peer connections, make friendships, and learn about self-advocacy over the summer. 

CAREER EDUCATION AND READINESS FOR STUDENTS WITH ADDITIONAL DISABILITIES

This module for students age 14-21 also took place on Wednesdays, and was offered to students with vision loss and additional disabilities. It focused on career exploration, self-advocacy and work readiness skills. Six students participated in this module. Melissa Small, a DSB YS contractor based in Vancouver, WA, who is a very experienced job developer and coach for students with multiple disabilities taught this workshop. 

For the best experience in the program, someone who could provide in-home support was requested to be present during the sessions. Guardians/caregivers had the opportunity to participate in Q&A and resource sharing with the facilitator for the last half hour of each session. Topics that were covered in this module included informed choice such as making the decision to work and how many hours to work to fit the students’ needs and preferences and how SSI is affected by working. Students also engaged in activities to build awareness of their abilities and transferrable skills. 

Other topics that were covered were soft skills for work, employer expectations, and availability of long-term employment supports. Students also learned about government agencies that can support them in finding and maintaining work such as Developmental Disabilities Administration, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and DSB Vocational Rehabilitation. In the final session of this module, students developed a 30-second speech to introduce themselves to potential employers and practiced interviewing skills. 

EXPLORATION STATION

This workshop was offered from late July to mid-August in four weekly one-hour sessions to students age 9-13. Twelve students participated in it. Teachers for the Visually Impaired and Orientation and Mobility Specialists, who are contractors for the YS Program, taught this workshop. It focused on self-advocacy such as asking for assistance when needed and work-readiness skills such as following instructions, time management, sharing with peers, problem solving, and using critical thinking to complete their activities and experiments. Another focus of this module was career exploration which gave students the opportunity to learn about careers in the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields while doing hands-on activities in their homes. 

Each week, students received a STEM kit in the mail. The kits contained step-by-step directions and materials for conducting various activities and experiments, such as making a tactile model of their bedrooms with Legos, exploring basic chemistry principles by mixing a variety of powders and liquids, making magnetic slime, and making rock candy with sugar and water. Students participated in weekly Zoom meetings to go over their experiments and activities with instructors and to connect with visually impaired peers across the state. Students reported liking the program. They enjoyed having a space to connect with their peers statewide. 

FEEDBACK FROM STUDENTS ON VIRTUAL SUMMER PROGRAM

After the completion of the virtual summer program, the YS team asked the students, who had participated in one or several of the workshops, to rate the program on a scale from 1 to 5, with 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest rating. It was great to see that the majority of the students had really enjoyed the program and rated the individual workshop a “5 out of 5”.  Here are some examples of the positive and critical feedback we received from students:

“The career panels helped me realize some different career paths I could take, and they allowed me to envision what life would be like working those jobs. Also, I liked how we got to have a discussion before the panel, as opposed to just jumping right in without engagement, and how you maintained an open framework after the presentations so that anyone could ask questions at any time.”

“If we do group projects w/ only 3 or 2 people make sure the people there are willing to participate (however, just a one-time thing for me)”  

“I actually really enjoyed being able to do them from home. Personally, being able to learn things from home gives me a wider variety of option when it comes to learning because of other health issues I have that sometimes make learning in person more difficult or strenuous.” 
“I disliked the long discussions, and I really liked how we played.”

“What I enjoyed most about both programs is that they were able to combine both creativity and information together in a way that I didn’t think was possible without being in person. I got to create a piece of art that did not rely on being on site but instead voiceover work and learn how to take care of and manage money.”

“What I liked most about the program was getting to meet different kids from different places and being able to engage in activities and learning about things at the same time.”
“My son participated, which is unusual for him. He was volunteering information and talking back and forth. He usually asks questions or changes the topic.”

“We had a few technical difficulties, but that’s expected since this was all new for all of us.”

“What I liked least was sometimes not being able to hear what a person was saying because the audio got off. I really liked that you gave us visuals to see on the screen like videos or hearing stories from others. I would have liked to see more of that, more activities and outside homework. I stayed wanting to know more also about people of different careers, how they faced their challenges and made it.”

PLANNING WORKSHOPS AND PROGRAMS FOR THE 2020/21 SCHOOL YEAR

At the end of August and in early September, the YS team conducted two surveys to help them plan Youth workshops and programs for the 2020/21 school year. One was for the 14-21 age group, the other one for the 9-12 age group. For the 14-21 age group there were 61 responses received, a return rate of about 35%. For the 9-13 age group, the return rate was a bit lower, about 20%. 

The survey was similar to the one conducted before the virtual summer program. Students were asked if they were generally interested in virtual workshops, considering all the time they were already spending in front of their computer screens doing school virtually. In both surveys, the majority of the respondents said they were interested in attending virtual Youth Services workshops and programs. They were also asked what days and times they preferred, and what topics held the most interest. Both surveys showed that the majority of the responders wanted workshops to be offered between 4 and 7 pm on a week day.

The workshops topics for the 9-13 age group, which got the most votes, were:

  • Organization
  • Food preparation and household chores series (dishwashing, sweeping, cleaning counters, etc.) 
  • Clothing management and personal grooming 

The workshops topics for the 14-21 age group, which got the most votes, were:

  • Food preparation and nutrition 
  • Virtual job shadowing 
  • Social Hour 
  • Self-Expression through various types of art 
  • Self-Advocacy as well as Financial Literacy 

 

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ORIENTATION AND TRAINING CENTER HIGHLIGHTS 

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1 – TELLING THE DSB STORY

Emily had a decent amount of useable vision and worked with it as much as she could! She may have fit in, to some degree, but she also recognized that her eyes would get tired because of not using assistive technology or larger print. One of the first important lessons she learned was that while socially fitting in is important, it is more important to use materials and devices that will be helpful, allowing for efficiency.

Emily did as much as she could for herself, doing her best to excel at everything she did. She was thankful to have a supportive family that always encouraged her. She learned the value of a strong support system, being compassionate to her challenges and always willing to continue learning alongside her.

Emily’s involvement with DSB began in 2015, which was her senior year of high school. Once her case was open, she immediately took advantage of some of DSB’s youth programs. After graduation, she participated in BRIDGE, which was a transition program giving her a taste of what college life would be like. In 2017, she was a part of DSB’s first SWAG program, which allowed students to take classes and work a part time job, usually on campus. She worked as a receptionist at EWU’s psychology department there. The summers of 2018 and 2019 she was a peer mentor for the BRIDGE program. Emily’s involvement in these programs introduced her to other blind and visually impaired students, expanding her social circle. She learned what it was like and how freeing it was to be away from home. She learned to make her own decisions and mistakes. She also began learning that she had great potential and many qualities she’d continue improving in college and beyond.

“I can honestly credit my involvement in these programs to Debbie Brown. She’s the one who offered me the position of being a peer mentor. I think she was the first one to see the hidden leadership qualities I had.”

Emily attended Western Washington University, graduating in 2019 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology. By then, Emily’s outlook regarding her vision and herself had changed. It no longer mattered to her if she had to use assistive technology or large print. She got to her classes early to get a good seat where she could see well. She put earlier thoughts and attitudes aside and learned to be much more efficient with not only her time but her vision as well.

Once Emily graduated from college, she realized she had to learn the skills of blindness which would help her succeed in graduate school and life in general. In the fall of 2019, Emily attended DSB’s Orientation and Training Center. She wasn’t sure what to expect while at the OTC. She found a mixture of great people she still calls friends, fun experiences, and very hard classes and work! She learned much more about what it meant to live independently and how to manage her time. She gave a hundred percent to everything she did. 

Classes like Braille and Computers came very easy to her. Others, like Home Ec and Orientation & Mobility (O&M) were challenging, teaching her to slow down and be cautious with things until she was comfortable. Emily is a perfectionist by nature, and it was hard for her to appreciate some of the mistakes she made. The seminar discussions allowed Emily to begin looking at her blindness and at herself as a blind person in a different light. She said she is still learning to better accept herself as a blind person, but she feels much more comfortable with everything. The biggest thing Emily got from being at the OTC was self-confidence. Now she knows that she can be not only a good teacher but also a good example to others.

This past September, Emily moved to Dekalb, IL, to attend Northern Illinois University. She will get her Masters Degree in Orientation and Mobility and Vision Therapy. From a young age, she knew she wanted to somehow work with blind people, and this particular program caught her attention. At some point, she hopes to be able to work at a training center like the OTC. Now that she is fully away from home, she finds everything she’s learned so far useful and important. Emily has even found herself teaching some of her classmates some of the blindness skills that are being discussed in various classes. She has also learned to balance her study time with other hobbies, including playing the violin, which she has always loved doing.

Emily continues to learn lessons every day in anything she does. When asked what the best lesson she’s learned so far as been, she said the following: “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. Why not try something?”

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 2 – DSB EXPERTISE

The OTC continues teaching virtually. All staff regularly attend workshops in their subject area via Zoom. We all continue to sharpen our skills to be better teachers. 

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 3 – EMPLOYMENT AT EVERY LAYER 

The OTC continues to look for internships for students who are nearing graduation. It is tough at this point due to the Pandemic and everything being virtual. We continue to research and get our students networking.

 

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REGIONAL VR HIGHLIGHTS

PARTICIPANT STORIES AND FEEDBACK

MANY THANKS FOR REMOTE ASSISTANCE

The Yakima DSB office assisted a participant to maintain her position as an administrative assistant by evaluating her needs at the worksite, and with getting back and forth to work.  Since this was taking place during COVID-19, all services were provided by phone, although the team was able to send her for an eye evaluation through the local low vision clinic (Vision for Independence) to evaluate her need for a bioptic. PS3 Kristen Bailey assessed her need for magnifiers at the workspace, and with that information, they were able to help her get the needed items. Below is an email from this participant regarding how these items have helped her:

Hi,
Yes they work great I just had an eye exam and was 20/40 with the glasses so I’m happy.
I would like to buy another magnifier like the one that you found nothing wrong with the one  you got me but just want to make sure if I lose it I can have another one since I like it so well.
I am so grateful for your services without your help I would probably not be still working or driving.
I feel guilty for getting all these things can I help pay for any of these things?
Stay safe and many Thanks

PARTICIPANT IS “GONE FISHING” AGAIN!

Karla Jessen, VRC4-Yakima office,  is currently working with a client who had lost his vision in both eyes very rapidly and did not know any adaptive skills of blindness before coming to our agency. He lost his job due to this condition, and his wife was taking care of him in all of his daily activities. He was having a hard time adjusting and missed his work, driving, and recreational activities such as fishing and hunting, which he could no longer do. Further, he was concerned about being a burden on his wife who was having her own health issues. The VRC could sense the tension every time she spoke to him. 

He met with our technology specialist Reginald George who gave him information about the local WA Council of the Blind support group and he started to attend. He was then given information about an outdoors group for the blind in which he was able to start joining activities such as the fishing, which he had so missed. He was thrilled to be able to go on activities by himself without the assistance of his wife and to be able to fish again. DSB then connected him with the Orientation & Training Center but due to COVID-19 the classes were remote. The Yakima office assisted him with a new IPhone, and this has been one of the trainings that he is learning remotely and exceeding all expectations. He is also taking other classes such as mobility. Creatively, the OTC has coordinated the remote mobility learning with practical learning in which the local mobility specialist, Kristen Bailey, is meeting with him regularly to reinforce and actually practice the mobility instruction. He is hopeful that the OTC will be able to offer in person classes at some later point, but for now, he is learning and so far has been achieving great success.

HOCKEY PLAYING VET TECH

Carolyn Hoppe-Denend, VRC4 in the Tacoma office, had a participant, AY, who obtained employment as a Veterinary Tech with a local Vet clinic during the pandemic. This is a positive step up from working at the local Petco. This participant was able to get the job he truly desired with DSB support. From the coordination between Carolyn and the CRP that was assisting him with job searching, how to do virtual interviewing, and updating his resume, to Rehab Teacher Beth Sutton showing him virtually via Zoom how to thread a needle to be able to sew a button on his shirt. He shared with Carolyn that he loves to play hockey with blind athletes; as he tells people collisions are normal in this environment.

DSB INTERNSHIP TRAINS FUTURE SERVICE PROVIDER

Ardell Burns, VRC4 in Vancouver office, has a participant, MM, who’s doing her internship with DSB Assistive Technology Specialist, John Sheahan, to gain hours needed for her certifications. She has done all her course work in learning to train iPhone (all accessibility features), Super Nova, JAWS, Zoomtext and NVDA. MM has completed the LLC for her business, called NW Technability; and is now working on the DSB paperwork to become a contractor to provide training to participants. She has received a lot of positive feedback from those she has trained. She was able to work with a participant that has not worked well with other trainers; and she was successful in getting this person the training they needed.

SUCCESSFUL JOINT CASE WITH DVR

Gil Cupat, VRC4, Seattle Office and participant EM started working together since May 2016. DSB has provided extensive VR services to help him work successfully as a Substance Abuse/Behavioral Disorder Counselor at Therapeutic Health Services. This was a joint case with Amy Smith of DVR Everett, and while her agency offered some VR service support, the majority of services were vision related and provided by DSB. EM received a number of low vision and AT equipment plus training. DSB helped support part of his educational training until he later qualified for financial aid. Other services include job site evaluation, Counseling & Guidance (C&G), Information & Referrals (I&R) and transportation; also additional supports to help him maintain his job successfully.

DSB SUPPORT FROM HIGH SCHOOL TO EMPLOYMENT

Another of Gil Cupat’s successful participants, KF, started working with Gil back in Sept 2014 when KF was still a transition student at Sultan HS. After initially supporting his goal of going to school for an IT degree, he shifted his goal to focus on earning an income for himself. An employment specialist from contractor WVS, Michelle, came on board to help KF with his job search activities. After successfully getting hired as a Cook at Harry’s on Lake Tye, Michelle stayed on board to provide job retention services. It was ill-timed when the pandemic hit as the restaurant had to temporarily shut down, leading to KF becoming unemployed for the time being. After almost 5 months the restaurant reopened and the owners, who were pleased with KF’s work, immediately hired him back. Aside from job retention and placement services, DSB has provided a number of low vision and AT equipment for school and home related use. DSB also provided school funding, transportation, O&M, C&G and I&R services.

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1 – DSB STORY & OUTREACH

  • Several DSB employees participated in the ADA 30th Anniversary and VR100 celebrations over the summer, describing the importance of VR for people with visual impairments and the state of Washington as a whole.
  • Juanessa Scott, VRC4 in the Tacoma office attended a virtual event Disabled Black Lives Matter (Part 1): A National Outlook from Thought Leaders. Dr. Donna Walton and Janet LaBreck, leaders in the Disability Community, discussed the experiences of Black Disabled Americans and the impact multiple prejudices have on their lives. 
  • Mario Eiland, Assistive Technology Specialist (ATS), in the Vancouver office, has been participating in numerous consulting meetings with state agencies and providing them information regarding accessibility. He has been consulting  with DSHS to ensure that at DSHS branches, a person who uses a screen reader will be able to access the testing done on computers, and have the ability to fill out the forms in the offices. He helped with a disability assessment for a DSHS website. Also, OFM (Office of Financial Management) worked with Mario to test for accessibility using a screen reader on the new My Portal system that is used by all State employees.

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 2 – DSB EXPERTISE

  • Ardell Burns, VRC4 in the  Vancouver office:
    • Met with the Director (Brittney Mulka) and Program Specialist (Jackie Wetchler) of the NEXT Youth Services Program in Vancouver about partnering with our youth for work related services including pre-employment workshops as well as staff education on DSB services and visual impairments.
    • Working with the Interstate Disability Alliance Group (IDEA) on the Business to Business forum that will happen September 30th. Theme for the forum is to share inclusion strategies and best practices with employers. Also, to meet IDEA partners and learn resources and services available from our organizations. Staff across five VR agencies collaborated, created, and consulted to put this all together.
    • Ardell reported on the forum results: 
      • Darcy Hoffman with SW Washington Workforce Development Council (WDC) was in attendance. 69 employers attended out of 100 who signed up. Two employers presented (a third was scheduled but couldn’t attend), Kenny Fletcher, owner of Paper Tiger, and Intel. Paper Tiger and Intel presented on their inclusive hiring practices, as well as accommodations and hiring people with disabilities. Intel had four staff members from their disability and inclusion office, and both presentations had specific topics around visual impairments. 
      • Kenny discussed his initial bias regarding hiring individuals with visual and hearing impairments. He emphasized looking at the job seekers skill set and matching that skill set to open positions. Kenny talked about having a blind individual running his roasting machine, and how he and the job coach taught them use of the machine and added aids such as braille on the operating buttons, and safe navigation around the machine area using their cane. Kenny also discussed visual accommodations for employees with hearing impairments so their employees could assist people at the front and take orders by showing people a picture and description of the drink order. Kenny said the word has gotten out that his shop is deaf friendly, so a bonus to hiring someone with a hearing impairment is a lot of deaf individuals frequent his coffee house and buy their coffee from him.
      • Intel’s hiring and inclusion initiatives for all representative groups were impressive. Not only a commitment to hire individuals with disabilities, but to identify staff with disabilities within the company and encourage them to seek assistance if needed. Staff discussed how these initiatives are practiced on every Intel campus around the world. One of the talent acquisition and accessibility staff is totally blind as a result of an accident ten years ago. The presenter, who was visually impaired, shared in detail how Oregon Commission for the Blind (OCB) and his employer worked together to keep him in his job. His message to employers was to not be afraid to hire someone with a visual impairment as the technology is out there to support them in almost any job they wish to do. He also gave a shout out to Blind Athletes Association in Vancouver. The team discussed how they designed and provided all the technology Steven Hawking utilized. The Intel team expressed that every employer should have a strong culture for accessibility and inclusion.
  • Juanessa Scott, VRC4 in the Tacoma office:
    • Attended the Central Tribal meeting representing DSB to continue DSB partnership with our Tribal VR partners. 
    • Attended the Counselor Huddle – WA state VRCs meet to discuss doing VR work during the pandemic, and share ideas of how to do their work remotely. Also, how to provide VR services in a remote setting; ensuring participants are getting what they need since training and searching for employment has changed so drastically. 
  • Beth Sutton, Rehabilitation Teacher (RT) and O&M attended:
    • Webinar-O&M Virtual instruction liability assessment seminar about Risk Assessment for teaching OM virtually. This to get information to share amongst other RT to get back to providing OM as this is essential for our DSB clients. Getting the best standards of practice of what is being done nationally.  
    • Researched extensively regarding conducting Low vision assessment and training virtually. She found that the way she has been doing it is the same way Ophthalmology doctors are doing it. 
  • Carolyn Hoppe-Denend, VRC4 in the Tacoma office attended Solution Focused counseling training; this training has Motivation Interviewing (MI) built into it. She has found this to be very useful with working with her participants.  
  • Sheila Burkett-Luckey, VRC 4 –Seattle office, attended the VR tribal 701 meeting. 
  • Sheila and Sothea Ouk (Regional Area Manager for the North Region) attended the NW Access council meeting.

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 3 – EMPLOYMENT AT EVERY LAYER 

  • The Spokane office welcomed a new Rehab Tech in August. Michael Skog started out with DSB as a participant in high school. While attending college and graduate school, he spent several summers working in a variety of jobs for the YES2 program. His experience mentoring others with visual impairments has already proven to be an asset in his new role with DSB.

  • Ardell Burns, VRC4 attended a Skype meeting with Edward L. Nicholson Union Pacific Railroad Oregon, Washington, Utah & Montana- Senior Recruiter/Talent Acquisition where they discussed services, paid internships, and working with DSB. 

  • Ardell also did other Employment Engagement: 

    • Employer meeting Netrush Vancouver. Met with Dustin Daniels Employee Engagement Specialist to discuss inclusive work environments, training related to various disabling conditions and inclusion, and resources. 

    • Employer meeting with Robert Gustainis District Manager for Walgreens Portland/Vancouver to discuss inclusive hiring as well as discuss training and resources.

  • Gil Cupat, VRC 4 Seattle office, attended the Snohomish County Business Solutions Consortium meeting last week and reconnected with our WOIA partners about each agency’s plans, new programs and new ways to engage with customers during the pandemic.

 

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AGENCY COMMUNICATIONS REPORT

PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #1 – DSB STORY

  • Youth Services Event Promotions 
    Washington Council of the Blind 2020 Convention Youth Track - 10/30/2020 
    Promotions include use of online registration.

ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS (06/01/20 – 09/30/20) 

Website

  • Content updates continue
  • Google Analytics 
    • Users – Number of unique individuals who visited the site: 2,823
      2,694 (83.3%) were first time visitors
    • Page Views – Number of pages looked at: 10,558 
    • Channels Used – How did people find the website?
      • Organic Search – 1,523 (52.3%)
        Used Google, Bing, or other search engine to find the site. 
      • Direct – 1,205 (41.4%)
        Typed in the URL.
      • Referral – 173 (5.9%)) 
        Clicked a link on a different website. 
      • Social – 11 (0.4%))
        Clicked a link on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media outlet.
    • Technology Used – what type of device used to view website
      • Desktop – 1,864 (65.96%)
      • Mobile – 818 (28.95%)
      • Tablet – 144 (5.10%)

Online Referral Forms

  • Self-referrals:  87 
  • Physician referrals: 27

Social Media 

  • Facebook DSB

    • Total Likes: 249 (+18)
    • Total Followers: 265 (+17)
    • Total Reach: 1,834 (+58)
    • Top Facebook Posts
      • DSB Administrative Offices closed. July 3. Reach = 76
      • Thanks to DES for a great job on our Seattle office renovations.. August 7. Reach = 128.
      • DSB Administrative Offices closed. DSB administrative offices are not available Friday, July 17 due to the Washington State Furlough. July 17. Reach = 62.
    • Facebook ADA 30th Anniversary
      Page developed and managed to promote the ADA 30th Anniversary event. Page unpublished October 2020.
      • Total Likes: 100
      • Total Followers: 109
      • Gained Reach of 2,634 on the day of the event.
    • Facebook VR100
      Page developed and managed to promote the VR100 event. Page published August 26. No data available.
    • LinkedIn 
      • Total Followers: 157 (+28)
      • Unique Impressions: 295 (-7)
      • Total Impressions: 4,591 (-196)
      • Top LinkedIn Posts
        • Responding to the Census; link to 2020census.gov. July 1. Impressions = 93.
        • DSB Administrative Offices closed tomorrow and Friday .July 1.  Impressions = 90.
      • Shared post (Kirk Adam, AFB): Americans with Disabilities Act. July 23.  Impressions = 76.

OTHER COMMUNICATIONS EVENTS / MEETINGS / TRAININGS

All meetings held virtually.

  • Washington Counts 2020
    This is an effort by the state of Washington to get a full and accurate count of all people living in the state of Washington in the upcoming 2020 Census. The Complete Count is a priority project for Governor Inslee and has bi-partisan support in the legislature. Former Governor Locke is the chair of the committee. The project is funded through FY 2019 and FY 2020 funding is expected by OFM. Meetings held regularly throughout 2019 and early 2020.
    • Complete Count Meeting, September 21
    • Continued Social Media Posting to encourage participation. 
  • ADA 30th Anniversary Celebration 
    Event to Celebrate 30th Anniversary of signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act on July 26, 1990.
    • Planning committee includes DSB, WASILC, ESD, WSRC, HCA, DDC, ODHH, OFM, ALTSA, DDA, Allies in Advocacy, and Arc of Washington.
    • Weekly planning meetings: July 9 – 23; after action meeting on July 28
    • Event date: July 27, 2020, 11:00 a.m.
    • Aired “live” on TVW Broadcast channels and streamed on TVW.org and on ADA 30th Facebook page.
      • TVW – TVW Broadcast of ADA 30th Anniversary Celebration
      • Facebook – Recorded Broadcast on WA's ADA 30th Facebook page
  • VR 100th Anniversary Event Planning
    Working with DVR and WWU to create a celebration in recognition of the event in addition to the activities planned within the agency. State level event has grown to include WSRC, University of Washington, CAP, Colville Tribal VR, DDA. Event moved from June 2 to October 15 due to COVID-19. Event now coincides with National Disability Employment Awareness Month.  Video to air on YouTube at 2:00 p.m. on October 15.
    • Proclamation issued by Governor on June 2nd anniversary date.
    • Planning meetings: July 15, July 28, July 31, August 3, August 10, August 11, August 14, August 25, September 1, September 8, September 22, September 29
    • Interviews with DSB clients and staff
      • August 11, 9:00 a.m. 
      • August 19, 3:30 p.m.
      • August 20, 9:30 a.m.; 10:00 a.m.; 11:00 a.m. 
      • August 24, 2:00p.m.; 3:15 p.m.
      • August 26, 1:00 p.m.; 2::00 p.m.
      • August 27, 9:30 a.m.
      • September 3, 9:30 a.m.
    • Video Review 
      • September 21; September 22 
  • DSB Virtual White Cane Safety Day Planning
    Planning activities to create virtual event on Thursday, October 25. Activities will include Online Trivia Party and Virtual White Cane Walk.
    • Planning meetings: August 18, August 25, September 1, September 8, September 10, September 22
    • Daily social media posts starting October 1.
  • Communications Directors Call – Cancelled during July due to State Furloughs. Bi-weekly starting September 18

 

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FINANCIAL REPORT 

Federal Fiscal Year Q4 2020, through September 30, 2020

2020 STATE FISCAL YEAR – REVIEW AS OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 (IN THOUSANDS)

Source Allotment Expenditures Balance
General Fund - State $ 3,761 $ 40 $ 3,721
General Fund - Federal $ 12,579 $ 3,297 $ 9,282
Donations $ 30 $ 19 $ 11
Pension Funding Stabilization Act $ 86 $ 0 $ 86
BEP $ 993 $ 116 $ 877
  $ 17,449 $ 3,472 $ 13,977

2020 STATE FISCAL YEAR – FEDERAL GRANT FUNDS THROUGH SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 (IN THOUSANDS)

Grant Grant Amount SFY 18
Federal
Expenditures
SFY 19
Federal
Expenditures
SFY 20
Federal
Expenditures
Balance
2019 Voc. Rehab. Basic Services -
$2.2 million is for Pre-ETS set aside
$ 14,866 $ 5,399 $ 8,349 $ 735 $ 383
2020 Voc. Rehab Basic Services $ 9,389 $ 0 $ 117 $ 2,336 $ 6,936
2019 Supported Employment $ 45 $ 0 $ 1 $ 0 $ 44
2020 Supported Employment $ 45 $ 0 $ 24 $ 0 $ 21
2019 Independent Living Part B $ 65 $ 35 $ 30 $ 0 $ 0
2020 Independent Living Part B $ 66 $ 0 $ 16 $ 50 $ 0
2019 IL Older Blind $ 673 $ 468 $ 154 $ 51 $ 0
2020 IL Older Blind $ 676 $ 0 $ 124 ($ 89) $ 641
Total $ 25,825 $ 5,902 $ 8,815 $ 3,083 $ 8,025

2020 STATE FISCAL YEAR – TOTAL EXPENDITURES BY PROGRAM AS OF SEPTEMBER 30, 2020 (IN THOUSANDS)

Program Grant Funds State Other  Total
Voc. Rehab Services Adults $ 9,624 $ 3,394 $ 0 $ 13,018
Voc. Rehab Pre-ETS $ 1,673 $ 0 $ 0 $ 1,673
Supported Employment  $ 50 $ 2 $ 0 $ 52
Independent Living Part B $ 51 $ 7 $ 0 $ 58
IL Older Blind $ 455 $ 150 $ 0 $ 605
Birth through 8
(Not Grant Funded)
$ 0 $ 0 $ 19 $ 19
Social Security Revenue $ 0 $ 0 $ 0 $ 0
Business Enterprise Program $ 0 $ 0 $ 1,019 $ 1,019
Total $ 11,853 $ 3,553 $ 1,128 $ 16,534

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

DSB closed State Fiscal Year 20, which ended June 30, 2020, spending down all general state fund dollars.


Federal Fiscal Year 20 ended September 30, 2020. All Federal grant funds were spent with the exception of approximately $382,000 of the $2.2 million Pre-ETS set aside.


The negative expenditures in SFY21 for the 2020 Independent Living Older Blind grant are primarily a result of moving $115,000 in SSA reimbursements received by DSB this year to offset ILOB program expenditures. In addition, approximately $43,000 of ILOB expenditures were moved to the IL Part B grant to spend down the 2020 IL Part B grant.

 

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HUMAN RESOURCES UPDATE

NEW HIRES/PROMOTIONS/TRANSFERS

Personnel Job Title Team Duty Station  Effective Date
Jonathan Whitby Vocational Rehab
Counselor 4
Field Services  Tacoma 01/14/2021

DEPARTURES/RESIGNATIONS/RETIREMENTS 

Personnel Job Title Team Duty Station  Effective Date
Kristen Bailey Program Specialist 3 Field Services Yakima 11/13/2020
Juanessa Scott Vocational Rehab Counselor 4 Field Services Tacoma 01/14/2021

CURRENT AND FUTURE OPENINGS 

Status Job Title Team Duty Station  Effective Date
Recruiting Program Specialist 3 Field Services Yakima 10/26/2020
Recruiting  Vocational Rehab Counselor 4 Field Services Vancouver 11/17/2020

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Previous Quarterly Reports 

Fiscal Year 2020

Fiscal Year 2019

Fiscal Year 2018

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