Federal Fiscal Year 2020, 2nd Quarter
January 2020 - March 2020
Presented to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind
June 12, 2020
- Independent Living Blind Skills Services
- Business Enterprise Program (BEP)
- Customer Services
- Youth Services
- Orientation and Training Center Highlights
- Regional VR Highlights
- Agency Communications Report
- Financial Report
- Human Resources Update
INDEPENDENT LIVING BLIND SKILLS SERVICES
Service Snapshot – Younger Blind (YB) And Older Blind (OB) Clients
October 2019 – March 2020
Note: IL Numbers were corrected 8/26/20
(11% of all
(89% of all
|Service Delivery to Hispanic or Latino Clients||14||5||9|
|Service Delivery to Asian Clients||8||2||6|
|Centenarians (age 100 or older) Served||6||NA||6|
|Youth (24 or younger) Served||4||4||NA|
all clients 60 years old or younger
|Clients with Depression||102||17||85|
|Clients with Bone, Muscle, Skin, Joint, and Movement Disorders
(includes Parkinson's, arthritis, and osteoporosis)*
|Clients with Diabetes **||110||23||87|
|Average Cost per Client||$ 666||$ 698|
* - More OB Clients have some sort of bone, muscle, skin, join, and movement issue than any other medical issue.
** - More YB Clients have diabetes than any other medical issue.
March 2, 2020 The Willow is an independent living apartment community. One of the residents who has received ILOB services in the past and has attended the Bellingham Low Vision Support Group decided to start a group at the Willows. She found that there were many people in the complex who had low vision. Mimi Freshly of Tri County Services in Bellingham was invited to attend their second meeting to share about the ILOB program. Some of the attendees had already received services but most have not. Mimi discussed what services are provided and areas of daily living with which individuals often struggle.
The attendees particularly wanted information about WTBBL so a demonstration with one of the machines was provided. Mimi also brought additional aids and appliances to demonstrate. The attendees were very engaged and asked many questions. About nine people attended and four of them requested services. Brochures and cards were left for residents who were not able to attend.
RECENT IL SATISFACTION SURVEY COMMENTS
“This program has given me hope for independent living. The ability to be able to go places and the tools to help me will/have helped with me feeling human again.”
“We are confined in our apartments with all activities canceled but the equipment I have received has made my life more comfortable.”
BUSINESS ENTERPRISE PROGRAM (BEP)
The new year started with a greater focus on business basics in cost management. The increased food and labor expenses for our owners has continued to climb over the past six months. With little to no room economically to pass costs on to the customer, a fresh approach has become apparent. Do we really want our business owners taking home 5-6% of net sales each year? The industry is average is 10%.
We also are evaluating aging Capital Campus facilities and the cost of operations due to shrinking workforce onsite. As more employees telecommute or work a variety of schedules, the potential building population is ever changing. That means we need to teach our vendors to be nimble and flexible with the newer business models.
Luckily for us, we were in the teaching mode when COVID-19 came along and re-defined our fieldwork each week from mid-February to end of March. We successfully coached all our vendors how to: safely stay open for business, serve great food, and adjust meal options right up to the date the ‘Stay at Home’ went into effect. Also, we kept several open after the Executive order started!!
The team grew tremendously as well during this time as result of rapid change and need for constant communication. Wendy was very new, yet her risk assessment skills and tracking techniques became an asset right away. She also kept many tasks online while Elvis and I were on the road.
TRAINING AND POTENTIAL NEW VENDOR UPDATE
We have previously discussed a need to increase the pipeline of new potential vendors and that is a priority. We are still working on making upgrades to our training program.
Our 1st candidate in a year started their on-the-job training (OJT) experience in January then COVID put it on halt with health concerns. We are working with two other potential trainees to determine where BEP fits for them.
Hadley is making changes and re-working courses we use for assessment and evaluations. We cannot afford to be on hold so we started to rebuild some old courses for teaching on site by our team. In summer 2020, we hope to integrate all of it for a more user-friendly hybrid training of Hadley, OJT, and industry taught courses. We believe the candidates will be better equipped for long-term success.
SNAPSHOT OF PERFORMANCE COMPARISON: [Q2 FFY20 VS Q2 FFY19]
- New VR Applications [152 vs 110]
- VR Customers Receiving Planned Services [659 vs 948]
- VR Customers Added to Wait List [67 vs 41]
- VR Customers Released from Wait List [23 vs 28]
- Students with a Disability served [343 vs 350]
- Competitive Employment Outcomes [19 vs 45]
- Average Hourly Wage FFY20 Q2 [30.89 vs 21.22]
Successful placements made this quarter:
|Judges, Magistrate Judges, and Magistrates||Cosmopolis City Hall||South/Grays Harbor|
|Administrative Services Managers||Gleam Law, PLLC||North/King|
|Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand||YMCA||North/Skagit|
|Social and Community Service Managers||NAVOS||North/King|
|Office and Administrative Support Workers||Infinite Possibilities||South/Pierce|
|Network and Computer Systems Administrators||Colifax Fluid Handling||North/Whatcom|
|Web Developers||Internet Media Associates||South/Lewis|
|Environmental Scientists and Specialists||Seven Coffee Roasters||North/King|
|Teaching Assistants, Special Education||Clover Park School District||South/Pierce|
|Bookkeeping, Accounting, and Auditing Clerks||Four Points Sheraton
Bellingham Hotel Conference
|Customer Service Representatives||Wave Broadband||North/Snohomish|
|Elementary School Teachers,
except Special Education
|Christ the King School||East/Franklin|
|Financial Specialists||WA State DSHS||South/Pierce|
|Business Operations Specialists||Magnolia Village Pub -
Newcastle Holding LLC
|Appraisers and Assessors of Real Estate||Valum Appraisal Services||North/Whatcom|
|Teachers nd Instructors||Todd Beamer High School||South/Pierce|
|Detectives and Criminal Investigators||WA State DSHS||South/Lewis|
Average hourly wage all employment outcomes at Q4: $30.89
- Percentage of participants age 55 and older who exited with employment outcome: 44%
- Eldest with employment outcome: Age 69 – Social and Community Service Manager
- Youngest with employment outcome: Age 23 – Engineer
SPENDING TARGETS FOR PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION SERVICES SET ASIDE
|Federal Grant||Grant Amount||Pre-ETS Set Aside||Pre- ETS Spent Dollars||Unspent Balance|
|$ 8,730,218||$ 1,309,532||$ 1,291,505||$ 18,027|
|$ 8,792,634||$ 1,318,895||$ 1,250,702||$ 68,193|
|$ 11,454,960||$ 1,718,244||$ 1,718,224||$ 0|
|$ 14,866,200||$ 2,229,930||$ 856,925||$ 1,373,005|
PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION SERVICES AND YOUTH SERVICES ACTIVITIES
YOUTH SERVICES WORKSHOPS
In January we collaborated with our partners at Outdoors for All to take a group of eight students skiing at Snoqualmie pass. Students ranged in their abilities, and quite a few of the students had never been skiing before. The students were all connected with volunteers who assisted the students based on their own ability and experience levels. Students gained confidence, self-determination skills, and learned about careers in adaptive recreation.
In the Seattle area, there was a Sightless self-defense workshop where six students participated. An accessible recording of the students’ comments tells the story of what the kids think of our programs. Youth Speak of Experience in Self-Defense Class
In the Spokane area there were two workshops held with good participation. There were 14 youth at the STEM workshop at Mobius Science Center. Youth learned the science of active/inactive ingredients, the importance of accuracy in measuring, pouring and mixing which resulted in a big glob of slime to take home! Youth continued to use those skills and added the freezing process to make ice cream. The workshop included full access to the science center for the day.
At the second Spokane workshop eight youth learned about owning/operating a small business at Clay Connection. Youth who attended live in rural communities where traditional employment and transportation are limited, and working from home is a consideration. This workshop was designed to teach the pros and cons of a small business owner. The owner of Clay Connection described how she retired as a special education teacher and pursued her avocation of pottery. Which lead to the purchase of Clay Connection and all that goes with it—rent, heating/air conditioning of the large old building, business and operation taxes, and also the joy of helping someone find their creativity through art expression. Each youth received clay, tools and glaze to create one or two projects. Then their projects were fired and returned.
The first Central WA workshop took place in January in Leavenworth. It focused on orientation and mobility, social and communication skills. All participating students met early in the morning to ride the bus from Wenatchee to the National Fish Hatchery in Leavenworth. Six students were able to attend and came from Loomis, Twisp, Yakima and Wenatchee. At the hatchery, students met a guide from the Wenatchee River Institute, a Leavenworth-based non-profit; all students were provided with snowshoes and poles and taken on a guided tour through the forest close to the hatchery. The students learned how to put on and take off their snowshoes, how to walk on them, and how to stay oriented in the snow by either using a modified sighted guide technique or a white cane with a special tip for snow – a so-called Dakota tip. On the bus trip to and from the hatchery, they learned how to: get on and off a public bus, pay for their fare using tokens, request a transfer from the bus driver, and request help with finding a vacant seat on the bus. They also learned to pay attention to the automated stop announcements and to request a stop along the route. Students practiced their communication and social skills when interacting with other students and adults during the course of the workshop in general and at lunchtime in particular. All students seemed to enjoy themselves and participated well in all offered activities.
- One of the six students who attended had multiple disabilities resulting in complex support needs. This was the first time she had come to a Youth Services Workshop in Central WA. Her mother was a bit nervous to let her ride the bus and snowshoe with the group without accompanying her, but all went well. We saw her smiling a lot, so we knew she had a good time, and she never had any meltdowns. This was a great success for her and our group.
The second workshop in Central WA was called “Barks and Biscuits”, and took place in February at Red Mountain Kitchen in Kennewick. It focused on food preparation skills, social and communication skills as well as career exploration. Ten students attended, and came from the Walla Walla, Kennewick, Pasco, Richland, Moses Lake and Prosser School Districts. In the morning, students baked dog biscuits as gifts for the guide dogs and guide dog puppies, which they met in the afternoon. While baking they practiced measuring ingredients, using a commercial stand mixer, rolling out dough, using a cookie cutter, and safely putting cookie sheets in and taking them out of the oven. Students also prepared their own lunches, which were chicken tortilla wraps. Over lunch, they practiced their communication and social skills with their peers and their guests, guide dog puppy raisers and an outreach specialist from Guide Dogs for the Blind, Jake Koch, who is blind himself. After lunch, they learned about careers at Guide Dogs for the Blind, especially careers in dog care and training, as well as marketing and outreach. They learned about how Guide Dogs are trained, what it takes to become a Guide Dog user and about the Guide Dog Lifestyle. Students actively listened to the presentation and asked many good questions. All students really seemed to enjoy the workshop and learned a lot from it.
- During lunch, Jake took the time to talk with some of the students about his experience with DSB’s Youth summer programs, especially YES 2 and Bridge. He shared what a positive impact it had had on him because it had made him more confident and independent. Students really listened to him and it was great seeing him take this unsolicited mentorship role.
A number of Youth Services workshops had to be cancelled due to COVID-19. These included an interactive STEM workshop experience at iFly, a 3-day Youth Career Readiness Fair in SeaTac, and a “Healthy & Tasty” cooking and nutrition workshop in Yakima. Each of these events had a large number of participants already signed up. DSB plans to offer these again once social distancing has ended.
CAREER COUNSELING/WORKPLACE READINESS/JOB EXPLORATION
Although the Career Fair had to be cancelled, three students from Central WA started their work experience the 2nd week of March. One worked at a drive-in restaurant, one at a Salvation Army retail store, and one at a day care. All three students were supported by a job coach as they started to learn their jobs. Unfortunately, they were only able to work for two weeks before they had to stop due to the businesses having to shut down. We hope to continue this program with the students in the fall.
Coordination continues of WorkForce South West Washington’s Partners in Careers (PIC) program at WSSB. This school year PIC has been arranging for participants to participate in job shadows and business tours in a different career sector each month. Students learn soft skills during these experiences as well as in the classroom.
- The theme for January was education. Students participated in job shadows at the Port of Vancouver, Pearson Airfield Museum and Washington State University Vancouver.
- The theme for February was first jobs. Students participated in job shadows at the YMCA and Barnes and Nobel. Mock interviews with community business members was a highlight of the month and preparation for the planned March Career Fair.
- The theme for March was technology. Unfortunately, planned job shadows and business tours with NetRush and Clark County PUD had to be cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. YSS is working with PIC, and other WSSB staff, to provide services remotely as an afterschool program for the remainder of the school year.
- Three of the PIC participants were working in internships – at a daycare, a non-profit agency and an EOCF after-school program until mid-March when schools began to provide education remotely.
A contract that YSS had been developing with MJ Small and Associates for the provision of generalized career exploration for youth with additional disabilities was finalized in February. The contractor, Melissa Small, began working with nine youth, including one LIFTT participant almost immediately. YSS assisted in the development of a report template and facilitated introductions to WSSB staff, students and families. Ms. Small set-up business tours and assisted in the development of resumes. She developed a format to begin the creation of video resumes, which was to be a Career Fair activity, with the students in her group. The cancellation of the Career Fair reduced the number of students that she could work with on this project. She was able to assist two students in the development of scripts, and video tape their interviews and some of their work experiences that day. YSS is working with her, and other WSSB staff, to provide services remotely for the remainder of the school year.
YSS participated in the January meeting of the Barrier and Access Solutions Committee Meeting at WorkSource Vancouver and presented information about DSB youth services at the WSSB family group February meeting.
Planning was well underway and nearing completion this quarter for all of DSB’s summer programs, including YES 1, YES 2, Skills, LEAP, Bridge, and SWAG. Unfortunately, we didn’t know how much COVID-19 would impact everything! In mid-March, Youth Services made some tough and disheartening decisions under the E-Teams guidance. Having to cancel all of our summer programs was hard; it was even more difficult to break the news to our youth. We felt the need to have an alternative to offer and quickly began researching and creating alternate summer programs in a virtual manner. Next quarter the SRC will learn how we did with this project.
ORIENTATION AND TRAINING CENTER HIGHLIGHTS
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1 – TELLING THE DSB STORY
Humberto Avila is young, enthusiastic, and eager to keep learning as much as he can, so that he can be the best and most effective teacher to young blind students! He knows that a good education is the way to get ahead in life and gain new opportunities. For him, it was a long road, full of obstacles and challenges to overcome. Humberto will tell anyone that the most important lessons he has learned in order to have an AWESOME life are persistence, perseverance, determination, and a positive attitude!
Humberto was blind from birth; although, his parents did not become aware of it until he was two months old. What would become of their son with such limited vision? They did anything and everything they could to have him healed, including going to visit faith healers, attending prayer meetings, and visiting eye doctors and specialists. Until such a miracle occurred, Humberto’s mother decided that her son would have the same educational opportunities other kids had, no matter what!
Humberto’s education started off quite rocky. In Mexico, the services for blind children are very different from those in the United States, and they’re more limited. Mostly everything in Mexico costs money, but Humberto’s mother did what she could for her son to get what he needed. At an early age, almost daily, his mother and he would go from their small city of Sahagún, Hidalgo to Mexico City for early intervention services. Humberto briefly attended a special school, where he learned some very basic blindness skills, such as tactile identification and basic cane use.
When it was time for Humberto to attend Kindergarten, his mother wanted him to attend a near-by school in his home town. At first, the teachers were not receptive to having a blind student. His mother wouldn’t have it! Humberto said that was one of the first times he remembers learning about the power of persistence. “I can be very persistent about many things, and I know I got that spirit from my mother.”, he said with a quiet chuckle. His mother threatened to talk to the school principal and take things as high as necessary in order for her son to be enrolled and included in a regular Kindergarten class with other kids.
In the first grade, Humberto learned about the powerful impact of sacrifice and perseverance. His mother worked hard to learn Braille and used a slate and stylus to transcribe books and other school work. In addition to taking care of her family, she worked day and night, brailling materials, so that her son had what he needed. Humberto said that it was hard for her at first, but she wouldn’t give up, because his education was what mattered. With pride and admiration, he remarked, “My mother was my first TBI, paraprofessional, ADA accessibility coordinator, and school liaison.”
Humberto also recalls that when he was in the first grade, his parents bought him his own slate and stylus, which for them was a large expense, but it was worth the sacrifice.
As he progressed in school, Humberto became proficient at reading and writing Braille. The only other “technology” he had was a cassette recorder and an old typewriter, which was what he used to turn in assignments. He made everything work for him and was academically successful. He also felt somewhat more included with his peers. Even though Humberto and his family still needed to learn more about blindness in general, they were all determined to help him succeed. He attended school in Mexico through the 8th grade, and then he and his family came to the US for a better life, and maybe even a cure for his blindness.
Humberto and his mother were shocked at the major differences in the services Humberto immediately received upon starting school in the US. He was taught how to use and given a Braillewriter, a computer, and other assistive technology to use for school. Humberto took to his computer the way a fish takes to water, and to this day, his knowledge and proficiency continue to expand widely.
Humberto described the rest of his High School and college years as a rollercoaster, full of twists and turns, trials and successes. He also learned what it meant to have patience, along with what he already knew about persistence and determination. There were times when he didn’t know if he could afford to continue his education. He was determined and learned to exhaust all possible resources for obtaining scholarships and financial aid. His persistence and determination paid off when he applied for and began receiving services from DSB. Once again, he was astounded and couldn’t believe that they would help him with obtaining what he needed to finish his degree, including tuition, books and necessary technology. Humberto continues to be very appreciative of all that DSB does to help improve the lives of blind people.
After finishing his degree, Humberto knew that he wanted to eventually be a Teacher of the Visually Impaired (TVI). Although he was successful academically, he still felt there was something missing in his life. After a friend talked to him about attending the OTC for training in the skills of blindness, Humberto knew that was exactly what he needed to do. In spite of his determination to attend the OTC, his biggest battle was convincing his loving but overprotective family that obtaining good training was in his best interest in order to be a successful blind person. With a bit of hesitation from his family, Humberto came to the OTC in early 2019.
While at the OTC, Humberto had many important learning opportunities. He learned to overcome challenging classes such as Home Economics and Mobility, since his mother always prepared meals at home, and he wasn’t used to big city travel. Humberto learned that nothing takes the place of good foundational blindness skills. Technology adds to the many tools in his tool kit. He also learned about leadership in several ways, including being a student mentor, tutoring other students with Braille and Technology, and taking part in the OTC Student Council, first as Secretary and then as President! In his role as President, Humberto was able to take part in organizing student outings, social events, and community projects.
Humberto’s biggest learning opportunities were when he obtained a summer job, working for DSB’s YES program, followed by an internship at Licton Springs School in North Seattle. Both opportunities gave him first-hand experience working with blind youth and confirmed to him that being a teacher was what he wanted to do as a career. Humberto had to use everything he’d learned, both during his school years and during his stay at the OTC. There were times when he didn’t know if he would make it, because there were new lessons to learn and tough obstacles to overcome. Humberto’s efforts paid off with huge success!
Toward the end of his time at the OTC, Humberto applied for and accepted a job working for the Tacoma school district as a TVI! He was approved to work under a conditional certificate. Once he gets his Master’s Degree, he will be fully licensed. While he works, he will also be attending Portland State University to obtain his degree. Dreams do come true!
Humberto knows that nothing worthwhile comes easy. Along with working hard, one must have persistence, perseverance, determination, and a positive attitude to make it in life. Humberto doesn’t forget where he comes from and all it took to get him to where he is today. He hopes that people learn to be thankful for the many wonderful opportunities they receive and that they don’t take them for granted.
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 2 – DSB EXPERTISE
The OTC staff started 2020 with a renewed sense of energy and creativity. We continue to take opportunities to improve our general curriculum and individual knowledge to better teach our classes.
This past term, we had a student complete a very successful term-long internship at the Hope Vision Foundation as the “Care Giver” conference intern. She used her knowledge and skills to help organize what was a very successful conference. Aside from Hope Vision benefitting from this particular internship, our OTC graduate’s confidence was greatly boosted. She now knows she can be successful at whatever career she chooses.
REGIONAL VR HIGHLIGHTS
PARTICIPANT STORIES AND FEEDBACK
FROM PARTICIPANT HB TO LACEY VRC HARRY W. AND AT SPECIALIST JOHN S.
This participant found employment that required her to relocate:
“Hey John! I just wanted to send a quick thank you email for all that you and your team are doing for me. I'm sitting here getting ready to pack for tomorrow, but I wouldn't be if it wasn't for you guys. This is an amazing opportunity and I'm really glad I am able to be a part of it, so thank you.”
FROM PARTICIPANT JH TO LACEY VRC HARRY W:
“Hi, Harry! It's great to hear from you! I'm doing well. I'm alternating between working at the office on base and working from home to minimize the risk of catching the virus. I still can't believe that I've held this job for the better part of three years; it floors me to think about it, and I owe my longevity in this position to you and the DSB. I couldn't function here without my document magnifier, and every time I use it I think of how grateful I am that you guys and your organization exist. I'm still considering, once my time in this organization is through, coming back and looking for a position with the DSB because I still believe so much in the work you do and would love to be part of that. Perhaps I'll do that or something else; who can say? Whatever my direction in the future, all I can say to you and John and everyone else is thank you for helping me get here.”
FROM PARTICIPANT M TO YAKIMA VRC BROOKE D.:
“I just spoke to Reggie and Kristen this morning. I am stunned by the amount of time and effort you are expending on me. I can't tell you how much this means to me and my family. Thank you so much! Please convey my sentiments to your team.
Thanks again, M.”
SEATTLE TEAM CHEERED BY JOB RETENTION SUCCESS
Seattle VRC Kara T., Rehab Teacher Sandra R., and AT Specialist Zachary A. partnered together with this gentleman who came to DSB for services. This gentleman had been working as a Clinical Program Supervisor for a mental health agency in Seattle for over 20 years. Things changed for him at work when a larger company took over, and he realized that his supervisors would have to take over some of his duties as he could not complete the tasks independently. After going through our in-house assessments and a worksite assessment, he was able to receive his lighting, low vision items, AT devices and AT training with much success. At the time of his successful case closure, he was working at home during the pandemic. Here’s a direct quote from the participant:
“Good afternoon Kara, Zachary and Sandra,
I’ll always remain grateful to you as a team for all the hard work and professionalism in bringing to pass my reasonable accommodation. Thank you and the Department of Services for the Blind. Every single item of the package is not only handy and useful, but also invaluable to me. I continue to learn from the time that Zach and Jeff left my office yesterday. If I may make one mention, I did not imagine the transformation that those two floor lamps would do to my office lighting…”
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1 – DSB STORY & OUTREACH
- Tacoma VRC Carolyn H. and Rehab Teacher Beth S. presented to staff at the One-Stop WorkSource Tacoma. They presented an Introduction to DSB services, information on our partnership with WorkSource, and a demonstration of human guide techniques.
- The Masters in Occupational Therapy program at the University of Washington in Seattle invited DSB to present for their “Assistive Technology in Rehabilitation” class. Seattle Rehab Teacher Sandra R. and AT Specialist Yang-Su C. joined via zoom to answer questions about adaptive tools and technology for people who are blind or vision impaired. They also shared about DSB services and how Occupational Therapists can partner with DSB on shared cases to provide quality services.
- Seattle Rehab Teacher Abbie R. found an unexpected opportunity for outreach recently and wanted to share her story:
“When COVID-19 hit Washington, I believe most of the state really felt its impact, especially as the weeks and months went on. Although my day-to-day work life was completely altered, as well as my social life, I was able to function at a semi-normal level every day. I thought about the effects this virus, and the ultimate shutdown or stay-at-home order would have not only on my direct clients, but the blind and deafblind population across the world.
I read an article about the challenges the deafblind community were having with maintaining their independence and day-to-day needs in a world where communication using touch or interacting closely with the public wasn’t deemed appropriate or safe. I saw the same article posted on a popular social media platform and I noticed in the comments the lack of education on both the blind community and deafblind. It got me thinking on who in my life is also not aware or ignorant to issues related to blindness.
On this media platform you can post questions, polls, and quizzes. I posted several and was fairly surprised at the range of responses. I asked very basic questions related to individuals with vision loss and it gave me an opportunity to educate those who responded or even give more information to those who seemed interested in knowing more. Some of the responses were from close friends, some acquaintances, and some basically strangers. After the polls, questionnaires, etc. I posted several ‘stories’ (in response) with information related to the definition of blindness, information on low vision (as several people were confused on why blind people would need glasses), information about the white cane and guide dogs, and I told them more specifics about my field of work and what we do at DSB across the entire state of Washington.
I think it was an educational experience on both ends. Although it wasn’t a formal training, I think it’s important to educate when you see the opportunity, and while staying at home, social media can be a great way to do that.”
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 2 – DSB EXPERTISE
- Seattle VRC Sheila B. continues to attend the Motivational Interviewing Advanced Skill Building classes as well as representing DSB with VRC Gil C. at the 7.01 meetings. She also attended a 2-1/2 day workshop for Benefits Planners that was hosted by WISE. This was the kick-off for a website launch that provides basic information to the public on a person’s benefits and how work may impact those benefits. The site is WISE WA Benefits Info.
- Seattle AT Specialist Laura O-T. met with Cheryl K. from One-Stop WorkSource Tacoma to provide an Assistive Technology Training on current technologies, and what DSB participants may be using in classes that WorkSource provides.
- Yakima AT Specialist Reginald G. was appointed to the Governor’s Committee on Disability Issues and Employment in February.
- Vancouver VRC Jonathan W. attended a meet and greet session hosted by the Cowlitz Indian Tribe VR Program. This was to be introduced to other partners working with the tribe, and to meet the new VR counselor in their Longview office.
- The Spokane DSB office has been working with their local WorkSource office to create a WorkSource orientation specifically for DSB participants.
- Seattle staff members Maureen R., Monirul H., Loren D., and Amanda G. had a booth at the King County Microsoft Transition Fair on February 27, 2020. They met with many community partners, families, and transition students; and shared about DSB services, handed out brochures on DSB youth services offerings, and demonstrated AT equipment and simulators. It was a well-attended transition fair and many people approached the DSB table with questions, to solicit for resources, and to ask about opportunities for professional networking.
AGENCY COMMUNICATIONS REPORT
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #1 – DSB STORY
Seattle’s Child Magazine – February 29, 2020
Univision AT Story – March 17, 2020
Reporter interested in running a feature piece on AT with AT Specialist. Cancelled due to COVID-19.
Mobility Matters Conference – March 18, 2020
Breakout Session: How Department of Services for the Blind Promotes Youth Leadership and Future Success Through Workshops and Programs
Created audio portions of presentation given at the event.
Thomas Insights (corporate blog) – March 20, 2020
DSB.WA.GOV listed as reference with links.
Smart Cane Helps Blind People Navigate the World
Youth Services Event Promotions
Seventeen events promoted/updated January - March. Promotion included flyer/handout design, website updates, and posting to social media.
Note: All events cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic effective March 23, 2020.
COVID-19 ACTIVITIES (01/01/20 – 03/31/20)
Updates to Website
Creation of new pages; regularly updated with agency information.
Communications COVID-19 call
Updates on pandemic response from the Joint Information Center
- Replaces the weekly Communications Directors call
- Occurs every Tuesday and Friday through June
ONLINE COMMUNICATIONS (11/01/19 – 01/31/20)
Redesigned website launch on April 1, 2020.
- Users – Number of unique individuals who visited the site: 4,870
15.5% were first time visitors
- Page Views – Number of pages looked at: 18,350
- Channels Used – How did people find the website?
- Organic Search – 2,991 (64.48%)
Used Google, Bing, or other search engine to find the site.
- Direct – 1,447 (31.19%)
Typed in the URL.
- Referral – 142 (3.06%)
Clicked a link on a different website.
- Social – 59 (1.27%)
Clicked a link on Facebook, LinkedIn or other social media outlet.
- Organic Search – 2,991 (64.48%)
- Technology Used – what type of device used to view website
- Desktop – 3,346 (68.66%)
- Mobile – 1,274 (26.14%)
- Tablet – 253 (5.19%)
Online Referral Forms:
- Self-referrals: 111
- Physician referrals: 23
- Total Likes: 216 (+9)
- Total Followers: 225 (+22)
- Total Reach: 2,626 (+848)
- Top Facebook Posts
- First Deaf and Blind Harvard Law Graduate Says Accessibility Isn’t Charity, January 6. Reach = 118
- WE’RE HIRING! Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 4 (In-Training), January 7. Reach = 100
- So, You Want a Job? Youth Jobseeker Conference - EVENT CANCELLED, March 5. Reach = 115
- Total Followers: 114 (+6)
- Unique Impressions: 332 (+99)
- Total Impressions: 4,818 (+394)
- Top LinkedIn Posts
- State of Washington Job Opportunities (Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 4 (In-Training) on our South Region), January 7. Impressions = 163
- For People With Disabilities, Working Hard to Get a Job Is Not Enough, February 2. Impressions = 151
- Become a GCDE member, January
OTHER COMMUNICATIONS EVENTS / MEETINGS / TRAININGS
- 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 will be held regularly throughout 2019 and early 2020.
- Complete Count Meeting, Tacoma, January 21
- Complete Count Meeting, Renton, March 10
- Census Day, April 1, 2020
- Washington DEI Summit, Tacoma, January 20-21
- Drupal 8 Training for new website, Olympia, February 10
- 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.
The 2020 Legislative Session began on Monday, January 13, 2020 and lasted 60 days. The 2020 Regular Session adjourned sine die on March 12, 2020.
- As of February 11, 2019, twenty-one (21) bills were included on agency Bill Tracking Report
- Tracked Bills Signed by Governor
Federal Fiscal Year Q2 2020, through March 31, 2020
2020 STATE FISCAL YEAR – REVIEW AS OF MARCH 31, 2020 (IN THOUSANDS)
|General Fund - State||$ 3,611||$ 1,906||$ 1,705|
|General Fund - Federal||$ 12,630||$ 8,248||$ 4,382|
|Donations||$ 30||$ 14||$ 16|
|Pension Funding Stabilization Act||$ 86||$ 86||$ 0|
|Total||$ 16,357||$ 10,254||$ 6,103|
2020 STATE FISCAL YEAR – FEDERAL GRANT FUNDS THROUGH MARCH 31, 2020 (IN THOUSANDS)
|Grant||Grant Amount||SFY 18
|2018 Voc. Rehab Basic Services -
$1.7 million is for Pre-ETS set aside
|$ 11,455||$ 6,549||$ 3,672||$ 1,234||$ 0|
|2019 Voc. Rehab. Basic Services -
$2.2 million is for Pre-ETS set aside
|$14,866||$ 0||$ 5,431||$ 5,804||$ 3,631|
|2020 Voc. Rehab Basic Service||$ 9,389||$ 0||$ 0||$ 815||$ 8,574|
|2019 Supported Employment||$ 45||$ 0||$ 0||$ 1||$ 44|
|2020 Supported Employment||$ 45||$ 0||$ 0||$ 3||$ 42|
|2019 Independent Living Part B||$ 65||$ 0||$ 34||$ 31||$ 0|
|2020 Independent Living Part B||$ 65||$ 0||$ 0||$ 0||$ 65|
|2019 IL Older Blind||$ 673||$ 0||$ 468||$ 153||$ 52|
|2020 IL Older Blind||$ 676||$ 0||$ 0||$ 79||$ 597|
2020 STATE FISCAL YEAR – TOTAL EXPENDITURES BY PROGRAM AS OF MARCH 31, 2020 (IN THOUSANDS)
|Voc. Rehab Services Adults||$ 6,387||$ 1,900||$ 0||$ 8,287|
|Voc. Rehab Pre-ETS||$ 1,457||$ 0||$ 0||$ 1,457|
|Supported Employment||$ 4||$ 2||$ 0||$ 6|
|Independent Living Part B||$ 59||$ 7||$ 0||$ 59|
|IL Older Blind||$ 233||$ 75||$ 0||$ 308|
|Birth through 8
(Not Grant Funded)
|$ 0||$ 0||$ 14||$ 14|
|Social Security Revenue||$ 0||$ 0||$ 0||$ 0|
|Business Enterprise Program||$ 0||$ 0||$ 1,019||$ 1,019|
|Total||$ 8,101||$ 1,984||$ 1,033||$ 11,118|
It has been an exciting 3rd quarter for DSB and the fiscal team. Navigating our way through the agency’s response to the COVID-19 world, although challenging, has helped us embrace paperless processing and enhance our methods of communicating as a team. We could never have imagined what we were capable of doing and now we have proven to ourselves we can do more than we ever thought possible. The months to come will be difficult as the agency deals with difficult financial decisions due to the economic impacts of COVID, but we will come out of this better and stronger and forever grateful for our ability to continue to support and serve people with visual disabilities.
HUMAN RESOURCES UPDATE
|Personnel||Job Title||Team||Duty Station||Effective Date|
|Sothea Ouk||North Regional Area Manger||CS/ North Region||Seattle||03/16/2020|
|Damiana Harper||East Regional Area Manager||CS/East Region||Yakima||03/16/2020|
|Teresa Smith||Administrative Assistant 3||Business Services||Lacey||06/16/2020|
|Personnel||Job Title||Team||Duty Station||Effective Date|
|Bianca Kolle||Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 4||VR Field Services||Lacey||05/28/2020|
|Stacy Brady||Fiscal Analyst 2||Business Services||Lacey||05/28/2020|
|Wendy Werner||Contracts Specialist 2||BEP||Lacey||05/29/2020|
|Status||Job Title||Team||Duty Station||Effective Date|
|Recruiting||Rehabilitation Technician 2||CS/East Region||Spokane||03/16/2020|
|Recruiting||Fiscal Analyst 2||Business Services||Lacey||03/16/2020|
|Recruiting||Fiscal Analyst 2||Business Services||Lacey||05/28/2020|
|Recruiting||Contracts Specialist 2||BEP||Lacey||05/28/2020|
|Recruiting||Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor 4||VR Field Services||Lacey||05/28/2020|