Quarterly Reports are presented to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind during their quarterly meetings.
Quarterly Report, FFY 2023, 2nd Quarter
January - March 2023
Presented to the State Rehabilitation Council for the Blind
June 9, 2023
- Independent Living Blind Skills Services
- Business Enterprise Program (BEP)
- Customer Services
- Pre-Employment Transition Services
- Orientation and Training Center Highlights
- Regional VR Highlights
- Agency Communications Report
- Financial Report
- Human Resources Update
INDEPENDENT LIVING BLIND SKILLS SERVICES
CUSTOMERSSERVED (FEDERAL FISCAL YEAR (FFY) 2023, QUARTER 2)
|FFY 2023, Q2
|Adults under 55
|Adults age 55+
|Total Participants Served
During FFY 2023, Q2
CUSTOMER AND CASE TRENDS
|FFY 2022, Q2
|FFY 2023, Q2
|Participants under age 24
|Participants over age 100
|Participants who identify as a minority
|Participants who have multiple disabilities
|Participants with household incomes $30,000 or less
|Cost per case average
FFY 2023 PRELIMINARY OUTCOMES
Most popular Assistive Technology categories of devices provided:
- Handheld magnifiers
- Writing guides
- Address books
- UV filters and sunshades
- Stand magnifiers
**In addition, 65 customers received cell phone and tablet apps demonstrations to see if a cell phone or tablet and apps for people with vision loss or blindness would be beneficial.
Participants who feel more independent and more confident in maintaining their current living situation
Out of 448 participants closed in FFY 2023 to date, 371 reported being more confident in their current living situation and that their independent living skills have improved.
Counties without participants served
Columbia; Garfield; Pend Oreille; Skamania; and Wahkiakum.
JAMIE'S SUCCESS STORY
Jamie is an athletic 32-year-old man who loves hiking, swimming, and long-distance running in his downtime. Diagnosed with optic nerve hypoplasia, Jamie is considered legally blind, and his vision has gradually declined over time. Jamie felt added anxiety about an upcoming move to Spokane with his long-term girlfriend. With a history of mood disorders, Jamie knows that he can become overwhelmed with significant changes and disruptions to routine. Having used Independent Living (IL) Blind Services before, Jamie reached out to the provider in his area in hopes that they could offer a helping hand while he adjusted to his new home.
Jamie told his IL provider that he wanted to take more responsibility in the kitchen to support his partner. He visited his IL provider’s office, where they began working on strategies around peeling vegetables and safely using knives. While first feeling hesitant and uncomfortable when chopping vegetables and trying out several different blades, Jamie started to feel more confident when using a non-serrated knife. From there, they progressed to cooking on the stovetop and oven. Jamie's IL provider showed him strategies to cook safely, like sweeping his arm over the stove top to check for any blockages and checking the temperature of a burner by holding his palm a safe distance above the pan. They also covered clean-up skills to ensure Jamie was able to prepare a meal from start to finish. The IL provider also showed him how to use apps like Be My Eyes and Seeing AI to identify ingredients and read instructions.
Combining these skills, Jamie and his IL provider were ready to tackle making a full meal of potatoes, eggs, and bacon. Jamie's partner loves breakfast foods, which motivated him to master the task of cooking for her. With practice, Jamie was able to prepare the meal on his own much to the delight of his girlfriend. They agreed that Jamie would begin preparing a meal for them at least once a week. These newly found cooking skills improved Jamie’s confidence; he felt better prepared to handle tasks independently. At the end of their time together, Jamie was preparing for parenting classes for his future family.
NATHAN’S SUCCESS STORY
Nathan is a gregarious 65-year-old man living in King County alongside his wife, Natalie. After a heart attack, he became legally blind with limited light perception. With this sudden change, Nathan was concerned about his ability to travel and complete tasks without assistance. Leaving his job after his heart attack and subsequent vision loss severely impacted his sense of independence. After doing some research, he contacted Independent Living (IL) Blind Services to learn orientation and mobility skills.
With these goals in mind, Nathan and his IL provider started working on human guide techniques with the assistance of Natalie. After some instruction, they could get into a proper and safe guiding position, make 180-degree turns, and move through narrow passages. Once Nathan and his wife felt confident with these techniques, he moved on to white cane training. When they progressed from his home to outdoors, Nathan’s IL provider taught him how to use the sounds of a nearby fountain alongside street traffic to orient himself around his yard. His IL provider also gave the family some tips on changes they could make so Nathan could move around their yard with ease. Small changes like setting up outdoor rugs and planting fragrant herbs like rosemary and thyme in large pots around the space would be great orientation tools.
As he grew more confident in his ability to independently orient himself, Nathan asked his IL provider for advice on how to talk to people about his blindness. After speaking in person with a former coworker who didn’t realize that he was blind until it was brought up later over the phone, Nathan wanted to be able to discuss his blindness more casually. He did not want to feel like the center of attention if he brought it up. Nathan’s IL provider helped him prepare a few scripts he could practice so he could speak to family, friends, and colleagues with confidence and openness.
Nathan’s morale blossomed as he developed these new skills. The human guide techniques he learned helped him spend more quality time with his wife and son as they walked around the neighborhood and helped him further develop his white cane skills. At this point, Nathan's former employer contacted him and invited Nathan to return to work in some capacity, which he was ecstatic about. With this, Nathan’s IL provider referred him to Vocational Rehabilitation services at the DSB. As their time together concluded, the IL provider noted Nathan's significant progress and praised his “great attitude,” and approach to life.
RECENT PARTICIPANT SATISFACTION SURVEY COMMENTS
“I can't say enough about Doug Trimble. He got me a Clearview CCTV and a Ruby magnifier, connected me with the Low Vision Center and low vision audiobooks. He was so professional, and an absolute dream to work with. I'm so thrilled to get services from him, and your program. There are not enough good words to describe how amazing, terrific, and helpful he was. I use the items and services he recommended to me every day. I would recommend your program to anyone else who needs services, and I appreciate everything that was done for me.”
“Services accomplished what I needed, and Ryan Kupfer was very personable and focused on what we were trying to achieve. He was very practical about what I needed, and it was personalized to my needs. Nothing extraneous, just basic white cane training. If I needed anything else, he let me know he'd come back. He made sure to get me a specialized cane tip for beach walking, which I love to do. Ryan gets an A plus!”
“Corey Grandstaff provided tools and ideas to support independent living and continued safe use of my wood shop tools. I have shared the information with my PCP and people with vision issues. Corey was skilled at asking questions and listening to my answers to address needs. His suggestions were very helpful and increased my enjoyment of and access to my hobbies and independence.”
BUSINESS ENTERPRISE PROGRAM (BEP)
BEP continues to manage the program with limited sites open for business. State agencies do not have or provide clarity on when and to what degree state office facilities will be re-occupied in coming months. The hybrid work culture is impacting forward momentum and appears to be here to stay. Therefore, all focus is pivoting business model to smaller operations, micro markets, and consolidated cafés.
Previously we have mentioned economic impact from the pandemic and endemic challenges. These are still very relevant and have not changed locally or nationally. Industry experts predict lasting side effects into next year. Food inflation still hovers above 8% of forecasts.
Much focus has been on the Rebuild Project with two of the sites going out to bid and hitting the targeted budgets planned. Our project management firm Integrated Solutions Group has been integral in helping us move them along, holding sessions with DSB Steering Committee regularly and providing reports to the vender owners about progress. Our consultant Dana Whitford has been an invaluable resource during the process.
The BEP team assisted Taylor Ray’s owner Shannon Warnke to open for the Legislative session at both Pritchard Kitchen and Dome Deli. A lot of work was completed to get it up and running with much equipment getting swapped out in lieu of replacing. With both scheduled for remodels in the next 18 months, we did what was needed to open.
BEP funds are very limited for operations so we are not replacing anything right now and moving assets around until it can be incorporated into the project. Additionally, we are working on design, equipment specs, and writing new food safety plans for everyone. Never a dull moment in BEP.
TRAINING AND POTENTIAL NEW VENDOR UPDATE
We are re-evaluating the training program to match some of the goals of the rebuild and better prepare all our vendors and future students. Our consultant ISG is assisting in a study with other states to determine new benchmarks and best practices. Jim continues to collaborate with his peers and was able to attend the Randolph-Sheppard conference in Nevada in February which was very dynamic.
Over the last six months the BEP team has continued to rebuild itself as well. Julia Longacre arrived in November and brought tremendous skill set to the team. She has continued to dive right in and contribute in a big way. Conversely, we lost Elvis Pruett, our long-time Program Specialist 3 in mid-December. After a successful posting, we hired Kephran Mason with an arrival in Mid-February. Kephran hit the ground running meeting vendors, moving equipment out of sites, performing a variety of other technical supports with Jim right away. He brings a wide breadth of business and marketing knowledge to the Agency. We are excited to have him onboard.
To manage the shortfall and maintain services, we are leaning heavily on our support vendors to fill gaps and keep critical work moving. We appreciate the E-team helping us navigate this new environment.
SNAPSHOT OF PERFORMANCE COMPARISON: [Q2 FFY22 VS Q2 FFY23]
- New VR Applications [166 vs 152]
- VR Participants Receiving Planned Services [850 vs 917]
- Students with a Disability served [361 vs 247]
- Competitive Employment Outcomes [18 vs 27]
- Average Hourly Wage FFY23 Q2 [$28.60 vs $31.31]
- Year-to-date [$26.92 vs $28.07]
Successful placements made this quarter:
|Region / County
|Laborers and Freight, Stock, and Material Movers, Hand
|East / Yakima
|Substance Abuse and Behavioral Disorder Counselors
|Spokane Regional Health District
|East / Spokane
|Interpreters and Translators
|East / Okanogan
|Teachers and Instructors, All Other
|South / Jefferson
|General and Operations Managers
|North / King
|Office Clerks, General
|South / Clark
|Plumbers, Pipefitters, and Steamfitters
|Golden Seal Plumbing
|East / Spokane
|Special Education Teachers, All Other
|Northwest Association for Blind Athletes
|South / Clark
|Education Administrators, Elementary and Secondary School
|South / Pierce
|Community and Social Service Specialists, All Other
|OPAL Environmental Justice Oregon
|South / Clark
|Teaching Assistants, All Other
|Pasco School District
|East / Franklin
|Customer Service Representatives
|Kaptein Ace Hardware
|North / Skagit
|Computer and Information Systems Managers
|North / King
|Teachers and Instructors, All Other
|New View Oklahoma
|East / Oklahoma
|Hairdressers, Hairstylists, and Cosmetologists
|East / Yakima
|Medical and Clinical Laboratory Technicians
|University of Washington
|North / King
|Catholic Community Services
|North / King
|Mental Health Counselors
|James Nole Therapy
|North / King
|Customer Service Representatives
|East / Benton
|Production Workers, All Other
|East / Spokane
|Social Workers, All Other
|North / Snohomish
|Olympic Medical Center
|South / Clallam
|North / Snohomish
|Project Management Specialists
|East / Douglas
|Education, Training, and Library Workers, All Other
|Washington State School for the Blind
|South / Clark
- Percentage of participants age 55 and older who exited with employment outcome: 29%
- Eldest with employment outcome:
Age 83 – Plumber (Job Retention)
- Youngest with employment outcome:
Age 20 – Customer Service Representative
PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRASITION SERVICES
DSB PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES
PATHWAYS TO TRANSPORTATION
In January of this year, we kicked off our in-person/virtual hybrid career series called Pathways. These monthly events occur during the school year and are designed to bring Blind, Low-Vision or Deafblind mentors from various career pathways to a panel discussion on their chosen career for mentors to share with our students their journeys and paths to success. We began these various career explorations in the Transportation sector.
Four students attended our first career pathways presentation which focused on careers in the transportation industry. Mentors on the panel included Ron Brooks, who is the senior director for policy and stakeholder engagement for UZURV, an adaptive transportation company; Martin Kareithi, the director of Accessibility for CapMetro in Austin, Texas; and Hau Hagedorn, from the urban studies and transportation department at Portland State University. Hau was able to add her thoughts about this growing career sector and shared with students how attending college could aid in their career journeys. Students were engaged and asked thoughtful questions. They discussed issues with public transit and how to advocate in their own communities to fix these issues and make systems more accessible for everyone.
PREPARING STUDENTS TO LAUNCH INTO TECH
DSB Pre-ETS was proud to bring another great multi-week program featuring career discovery and experiential learning to help students kickstart a career in technology; as well as learn workplace readiness soft skills, self-advocacy, and an educational understanding of what’s needed to join and succeed in the field of Tech. Launch into Tech started in January with the first week spent on an orientation session covering the program, followed by a total of five more weeks of deep explorations into in-demand technical professions. In this cohort, we had consistent turnout of eight students during the program.
Students were introduced to various career opportunities in the tech industry including software engineering, full-stack development, data analytics, IT, accessibility testing, technical writing, and project/product management through a series of guest lecturers. The program served as a compass for students to explore different areas in tech and to finesse their interest and to promote a pathway to succeed with realistic expectations. The contractor also served as a mentor to students by allowing them to ask questions on careers and to further explore college or training to pursue in the future as they transition to a college or training program of their own. The program was so successful that DSB is planning on offering it year-round and expanding the program as well.
Six students took part in Sightless Self-Defense in February. This two-hour self-awareness workshop provided students with strategies to escape safely when grabbed by a stranger, how to handle situations when you’re approached aggressively by a stranger and the importance of appearing confident even when you’re not feeling confident.
Students were engaged and actively participating in the instruction and enjoyed building confidence and connecting with peers. The students come away more confident when shown how to be aware and how to protect themselves in potentially dangerous situations.
PATHWAYS TO WRITING
This event was held in February and nine students attended, both from the Washington State School for the Blind and around the state virtually. The panel of mentors included a non-fiction author and writing coach, a comic book writer, and a journalist – all who were individuals who are blind or have low vision. We also were joined by a creative writing professor from Portland State University who spoke to the students about college pathways to careers in writing. The students asked great questions and had great conversations with the mentors. They came away from the panel with a better understanding of how to turn their passion for storytelling and creative writing into a career.
PRE-ETS GOES SKIING IN SPOKANE
In March, DSB Pre-ETS teamed up with the City of Spokane Parks and Recreation to offer a winter outdoor downhill skiing event. Registration was full leading up to the event but unfortunately only one participant attended. The goal of this event was to learn self-advocacy and workplace readiness skills through verbal and nonverbal communication and learn new skills while connecting with professionals and student peers.
PRE-ETS PRESENTS AT PNW AER
The Pre-ETS team presented at the PNW AER Conference in Tri-Cities, WA, in the effort to create a multi-year strategy that informs and retools the outreach to students, families, school, and educational partners. Our presentation was titled “Your New Compass to Transitioning Students with Visual Disabilities”. This session was designed to inform conference attendees about the changes at DSB, the transformation of our Pre-ETS program, and our recommitment to leading the way in connecting our great work with the students, families, and school districts across the state. Moreover, this presentation was about seeking feedback from attendees to inform DSB’s outreach strategy. We held a 70-minute session in which a majority of the time was split up into mini-breakouts with groups in the session where each team was given questions to drive conversation and brainstorming on how we can improve connections across the groups we strive to serve.
We came away with a super-sized poster-board of feedback that we collected from all attendees of the session, which we intend to action into our multi-year plan. It was a great return to PNW AER and our Pre-ETS team was proud to be a part of such a great weekend full of resources and great people that work so hard to support the community we serve.
PATHWAYS TO ACCESSIBILITY
In March, DSB Pre-ETS continued the Pathways Series with Pathways to Accessibility. While we had full registration leading up to the event, we only saw one student participate live while the session was recorded for others to enjoy later. The goal was to discuss careers in accessibility which included making technology accessible for people with disabilities and producing accessible content for college students. Our mentors possessed lived experience as Blind, Low-Vision or Deafblind individuals working in the Accessibility sector. The mentor panel included an Accessibility engineer for Pearson Publishing Company, a manager who has implemented several ADA programs within the WA State Departments of Licensing and Transportation, and an Assistive Technology Specialist at Spokane Falls Community College. We hope to attract more attention in the future to these insightful career exploration events and we will continue to record these sessions for students, families, and partners who cannot attend in-person.
ORIENTATION AND TRAINING CENTER HIGHLIGHTS
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1 – TELLING THE DSB STORY
BLINDNESS IS NOT AN OBSTACLE
For a person born blind or with low vision, learning the skills of blindness to live a full and successful life, as early as possible, is imperative! Unfortunately, some people don’t realize it until later on, when they are ready to begin their adult lives, perhaps to go to school or begin a career. Others, like KG, learned that if she couldn’t get what she needed and wanted where she lived, she would have to be proactive and go elsewhere, because being blind was not going to be a reason for her not to live a successful life.
KG was born with optic nerve hypoplasia. Although she knew she had low vision, she learned to live with it and do what she could growing up. Being from Wausau, Wisconsin, KG said that life was much simpler for her in a small town. She had a good family who loved her and wanted her to be as independent as possible. KG learned to be somewhat independent and helped out at home, due to the fact that her parents worked. To her, this was normal life, and she figured all was well.
She honestly didn’t realize how much she was missing or lacked in the way of blindness skills or other issues at that time. Her vision was fairly stable, and she learned to use what she had. Her elementary and junior high years were easier than her high school ones. That was when she discovered some deficits.
KG had been introduced to some basic skills, such as Braille and Orientation and Mobility, but they weren’t enough. For example, it wasn’t until later that she realized that traveling in a big city was very different from traveling in a small town with few stop lights.
She said, “I really believe that if I had learned more, and was encouraged to use blindness skills from the beginning, I wouldn’t have had such a hard time in school. I always thought that because I am fiercely independent and learn quickly, I had everything covered and didn’t need more. I was wrong, but I also didn’t know it until I was older and had moved to a big city!”
Along with her eye condition, KG had Attention Deficit Disorder, and that was also challenging, especially because she hadn’t been diagnosed. That was one more thing which made some things tough. She also learned that modifications and shortcuts in school weren’t always a good solution for her. She would see the results when she tried taking college classes.
After graduating from high school, KG enrolled in a program in Wisconsin where students spent several months learning blindness skills while attending a program where they could also take a class at a nearby college. KG loved the experience and she did well in learning more skills, especially Orientation and Mobility, which she still believes is one of the most important skills for a blind person to learn. However, when it came to her college class, she didn’t do as well as what she would have liked. She realized just how many breaks and modifications she had been given in high school, and they negatively affected her in college. In spite of a difficult time with her college class, she passed and completed the entire program. Now what?
KG was given the opportunity to move to WA state and join her mother who had recently moved to take a job as a police officer. KG thought she’d have greater and better chances for either school or work in a big city, with even better transportation than she had in Wisconsin, and a great state program offering good services for her as a blind person. KG didn’t realize what a small town Enumclaw was! Although she tried to make things work, she had a rough time and was depressed for a while. How could she move somewhere else where she had more opportunities and independence? She still wasn’t sure she had all of the skills she needed. Could she live in an apartment on her own and make her own way? How?
KG did some research and found out about DSB and was introduced to the person who became her first VRC, Meredith Stannard! According to KG, “Meredith helped me take the first step to both change and improve my life!”
Both Meredith and KG agreed that KG could stand to refine her blindness skills and learn more so that she could confidently live on her own and work in a big city. She was thrilled that someone understood what she wanted and would help her. She arrived at the OTC eager and ready to learn!
“I’ll admit that there were times when I might have been somewhat overzealous and wanted to do everything right away rather than go through the training process.
“I remember wanting to cook something in my apartment the first night I was there. I knew how to cook. I was quickly told that I needed to be cleared to use the stove by the home ec instructor. I was not happy and wouldn’t have it! The very next day, which was my first day of classes, I went into the home ec room and immediately asked what I needed to do to get cleared, because I was confident and knew I’d be OK cooking for myself. I was ready to move forward! I showed that I could use the stove safely and was cleared that very day!”
KG approached all of her classes with that same zeal. Although she knew Braille, Julie Brannon helped KG refine her skills and become more literate. She enjoyed gaining new skills on the computer using JAWS and asking Jim questions. Shop class was scary, but with Bronson’s help, KG’s confidence level continued rising. Perhaps KG’s favorite class was Orientation and Mobility. She loved the freedom and independence she gained when she used public transportation and learned to navigate the streets of Seattle. At times, the biggest lesson she learned was to slow down a bit so as to truly learn and comprehend what she was being taught. And mistakes turned into great lesson-learning adventures.
“I’ll never forget the importance of paying close attention when traveling somewhere. My OTC roommate and I decided to take the famous #7 bus and go to Safeway. Everything went well, but on the way back, we completely missed our stop and had to end up going all the way to the end of the line. Thankfully, the bus driver suggested we stay on the bus, because he was headed back the other way. I couldn’t believe we made such a dumb mistake, but I learned a lot from that experience!”
KG mentioned that instructors like Donna Lawrence and Jim Portillo affirmed her and her plans for the future. Jim helped her increase her already positive attitudes on blindness. Donna helped her with Career related things, such as a resume.
“They taught me things about life that helped me be more self-assured.”
KG was also a mentor to her peers. She was a leader in the Student Council. She encouraged others to take risks and have adventures. Her blindness didn’t stop her from doing things, and she hoped to lead by example.
Once KG finished her time at the OTC, she needed a job and hoped to get something in the Blindness field. In fact, she hoped that sometime in the future, she could actually work at the OTC in some capacity. She also went back to school, because she knew that more knowledge would lead to a better job.
KG obtained a job as a job coach for other blind people. However, she thought that the expectations held for blind people should be higher. After several years, she left that particular job and looked for something better. She knew it was time to reach out to her VR counselor, who was now Lisa Wheeler. According to KG, “Lisa was amazing! She helped get me some testing I both needed and wanted, and once we got those results, I was able to move forward with trying to find work.”
Trying to find a job that KG found satisfying was hard, but after several attempts and failed interviews, KG found a job with Washington Vocational Services. It was originally going to be a temporary to part-time job, and she knew it. Due to some unexpected circumstances, KG’s part-time job turned into one that was full-time with more responsibilities than she expected. That wasn’t going to stop her!
Her wish for a challenging job with high expectations was granted! On KG’s first day as an official employee, her boss was involved in an accident, making her unable to work. It was a baptism by fire for KG, because she had the task of finding employment for a group of students participating in DSB’s Youth Employment Services program. YES had partnered with WVS, and KG was now the person who would be working with the YES coordinators. She knew it would be overwhelming, but she also wanted to do well, and she put her heart and soul into making everything work. Mistakes were made and lessons were learned, but ultimately, KG was successful, proving that she could do the job well. KG serves as the official Employment Coordinator for WVS, and she’s had that job since 2017.
Through this job, another dream of KG’s came true. Ron Jasmer (OTC’s new Program Manager) knew KG from the YES program. Ron had worked for the program for several years. He approached KG and expressed interest in talking with her and WVS about partnering with the OTC to find internship opportunities for OTC students. Additionally, Ron learned that KG had a curriculum for blind students regarding Career Guidance, and he was interested in having OTC go through it with KG as the instructor. KG was thrilled with the possibility of working with the OTC. After all, she learned so much from them and wanted to help other blind people succeed and obtain gainful employment. After several meetings and a contract, KG serves as the OTC’s new Careers class instructor and is in charge of finding internships for students.
“I feel like I’ve come full circle! I love what I do, and I love the people with whom I work! I never thought I’d have such an amazing opportunity!”
KG works hard, but she is also involved in extracurricular activities. She joined the National Federation of the Blind of Washington and now serves as the Seattle chapter secretary and Events Coordinator. She enjoys music and is looking for opportunities to perform or to sing with a choir. And when she doesn’t have anything going on, she enjoys being home, relaxing with her husband David.
KG is in a good place in life. She continues to learn more about herself and uses that knowledge in everything she does. The last thing to stop her is her blindness.
“I encourage people to take advantage of the opportunities presented to them. Blindness does not need to be an obstacle. The harder one works; the more rewarding things are.”
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 2 – DSB EXPERTISE
OTC staff continue attending trainings and webinars to keep up with their skillsets and increase their knowledge. In addition, the OTC actively and enthusiastically participated in the DSB All-Staff training that took place April 24-26th in Vancouver.
This was also the first term that Kristin Geary, from Washington Vocational Services, joined the OTC as a contractor to teach the Careers class and to help find internship opportunities for the students. The OTC is delighted to have Kristin aboard.
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 3 – EMPLOYMENT AT EVERY LAYER
OTC students are thrilled to have internship opportunities during their last term. Last term, one student interned at the Rainier Valley food bank. The term before last, another student interned at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library. Both students have since graduated. They both appreciated the internships and said that they were able to apply the skills taught to them while at the OTC..
REGIONAL VR HIGHLIGHTS
- Joy D., VRC in Lacey, shared that RB came to DSB in 2022 seeking job retention services after a sudden change in her vision. She was not supported by her previous employer to use assistive technology and ended up losing her job. Joy sent her the employment opportunity for an Administrative Assistant position with DSB in Lacey Headquarters. RB applied, interviewed, and accepted the job in March. She’s shared that she’s happy to be at DSB with the opportunity to spread the word about their services.
- Maureen R., O&M Instructor in Seattle, shared a note she received from a participant:
I am so grateful for my O&M time. Truly as my need increases Maureen you seem one step ahead. You truly have been Ready on the Spot to work with my system struggles. My body struggles are not limited to vision loss, and before middle or during I can battle a migraine or vertigo. Maureen, you have always made me feel secure and you provide consistent encouragement. Truly. This can be a struggle to learn all the vision loss supports. You have ordered and delivered tools to me quickly. and diligently worked through the steps of O&M. So in short or rather long. Thank you so much Maureen for all you do seen and unseen :)
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE 1 – DSB STORY
- Ardell B., VRC in Vancouver, shared the DSB story at the following meetings this quarter:
- Met with Avelino Estrada, Vice President of Programs, Easter Seals Washington and Cathy Bisaillon, President/CEO, Easter Seals Washington regarding their new role as a CRP contractor in Vancouver for DSB. Discussed locating office space in Vancouver near a bus line and other accessibility needs. Advised they will possibly receive immediate referrals for services due to lack of other CRP providers.
- Met with special education staff at Camas High School to discuss DSB Pre-ETS services and programs as well as VR services.
- Met with Veronica Miro-Quesada, SeaMar Housing and Administrative Services Manager to talk about DSB services.
- Gil C., VRC, Maureen R., O&M Instructor, and Carl P., Business Engagement & Workforce Manager, all in Seattle, presented at the Everett WorkSource Quarterly staff meeting in March to introduce them to DSB services.
- Gil C., VRC, and Roberto C., AT Specialist in Seattle, hosted a DSB information table at the Snohomish County Pre-ETS Disability Fair in March.
AGENCY COMMUNICATIONS REPORT
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #1.2 – TARGETING THE DSB MESSAGE
Pre-Employment Transition Services Strategic Communications Plan
Working with Youth Services team to develop a comprehensive strategic plan that targets specific, defined audiences.
- Updating existing plan to match new Pre-ETS goals.
- Online and social media promotion of 11 events in English and Spanish, including:
- Flyer development
- Website posting
- Facebook event posting
- Online Registration Forms
Benton & Franklin County Workforce Development Council Communications Plan
Developed and implementing plan to promote DSB services to specified audiences and funded through the BFWDC grant.
- Radio advertising began January 2023
- Providing monthly report to BFWDC
Pacific Northwest AER Spring Conference
March 16-18, 2023
- Completion of presentation materials
- Development of tactile presentation for exhibit area
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #2.1 ENHANCE AGENCY CAPACITY AND CORE COMPETENCIES
Data Governance Team
- Developed training and communications to inform staff on improving the Agency’s Records Retention efforts at the April All-Staff meeting.
- Monthly meetings, trainings, and discussions.
DSB Agency All Staff Planning Team
• Working on two committees to plan and staff 2023 All-Staff Meeting in Vancouver.
ReVision VR Discussion Workgroup
- Monthly meetings, discussions to update processes.
PROGRESS TOWARDS STRATEGIC INITIATIVE #2.2 ENHANCE RECRUITMENT, RETENTION AND SUCCESSION
Communications Office Knowledge Transfer
- Ongoing updates to Communications “How-To” Desk Manual to share and preserve knowledge of office duties and activities.
- Working with HR staff to rewrite DSB position announcements to increase appeal and click-through on non-governmental job boards and social media
Website Analytics Overview
Website use overview:
|Number of unique individuals who visited the site
|Individuals visiting the site for the first time
|Number of times a user is active engaged with the website.
|Number of pages looked at
How people found the website:
|Used Google, Bing, or another search engine to find the site.
|Typed in the URL.
|Clicked a link on a different website.
|Clicked on a link from a social media platform.
|Clicked on a link embedded in an email message.
Type of device used to view the website (per session):
Online Referral Forms
Note: there was a major increase in incidents of spamming this quarter.
|The number of people/pages that follow the page
|The number of people who had any content from or
about the page enter their screen through unpaid
Top Five Facebook Posts
Elsa Sjunneson at Washington Talking Book & Braille Library
Administrative Assistant 3 (Lacey)
DO-IT Center seeking Washington HS students with disabilities for college prep program. Info Sessions Available
Resolution Solutions: apps to tap in 2023
Programs Specialist (BEP)
|Number of people that follows the account
|Number of views when an update is at least 50% on screen or when it is
clicked, whichever comes first.
Calculated as: (Clicks + Likes + Comments + Shares + Follows) / Impressions
Top Five LinkedIn Posts - Organic
Pre-Employment Transition Services Specialist
Administrative Assistant 3
|World Mourns the Passing of Judy Heumann
|DSB Spring Town Hall
|Navigating the Open Seas of JAWS and Fusion 2023
Sponsored LinkedIn Posts
Pre-Employment Transition Services Specialist
OTHER COMMUNICATIONS EVENTS / MEETINGS / TRAININGS
State Agency Communications Directors Meetings
Public Agency Lobbying Training
January 11, Virtual
State Agency Document Accessibility Discussion
January 24, Virtual
Yes, WIOA Can! Post, Like, Follow, Share
February 7, Virtual
PNW AER Spring Conference
March 16-18, Kennewick, WA
Outreach and Marketing for the Public Workforce Development System: Exploring the Possibilities!
March 31, Virtual.
Federal Fiscal Year Q2 2023, through March 31, 2023
2023 STATE FISCAL YEAR – REVIEW THROUGH MARCH 31, 2023 (IN THOUSANDS)
|General Fund - State
|General Fund - Federal
|BEP Operations *
|Statewide Technology Pool
* Allotment authority represents estimated revenue and GFS.
2023 STATE FISCAL YEAR – FEDERAL GRANT FUNDS THROUGH MARCH 31, 2023 (IN THOUSANDS)
|2021 Voc. Rehab Basic Services -
$1.8 million is for Pre-ETS set aside
|2022 Voc. Rehab. Basic Services -
$1.4 million is for Pre-ETS set aside
|2023 Voc. Rehab. Basic Services
|2023 Supported Employment
|< $ 1
|2022 IL Older Blind
|2023 IL Older Blind
2023 STATE FISCAL YEAR – TOTAL EXPENDITURES BY PROGRAM THROUGH JUNE 30, 2023 (IN THOUSANDS)
|Voc. Rehab Services Adults
|Voc. Rehab Pre-ETS
|< $ 1
|< $ 1
|Independent Living Part B
|IL Older Blind
|Birth through 13
|Business Enterprise Program
SPENDING TARGETS FOR PRE-EMPLOYMENT TRANSITION SERVICES SET ASIDE
EXPENDITURES THROUGH MARCH 31, 2023 (IN THOUSANDS)
- DSB submitted a Maintenance of Effort (MOE) waiver request for FFY 20 in the amount of $782,000 which was approved. DSB will submit another MOE waiver request for FFY 21 in the amount of $133,000.
- The VR Federal Fiscal Year 2021 grant dollars of $12,026 have been 100% expended and the Pre-ETS reservation (15%) was met.
- DSB requested and received an additional $925,000 in federal reallotment funds for FFY 2022.
- DSB commenced spending state dollars in February to meet the maintenance of effort and match requirements for the VR Federal Fiscal Year 23 grant.
- DSB’s support for implementing OneWA is increasing with efforts commencing to update our case management system interface. This State wide project will move our current financial system from AFRS to Workday. Go live with the new system is tentatively 2025.
HUMAN RESOURCES UPDATE
|Administrative Assistant 3
RETIREMENTS / END OF SERVICE
|Administrative Assistant 3