Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Department of Rehab 101

A month ago this Friday, Jacob put on his cap and gown and walked on stage to get his diploma from Culver City High School.  That was definitely one of my proudest parental moments.

Now the fun really begins - how to plan for the next stage of Jacob's life.  At this point, he's unsure if that includes college or trade school, but one thing is for sure: he will definitely need to find a job.  I would love for him to find something part-time while he makes up his mind what direction his life will take.

Jacob and I were extremely lucky to have a great, supportove staff at CCHS including his awesome Workability instructor, Dan Phillips.  Over the course of Jacob's high school enrollment, Dan placed Jacob in three Workability jobs and took his students on field trips to several local colleges.  They also visited the local Department of Rehab office, and Dan was kind enough to summarize the meeting in an email to me.

These were his notes from the meeting which I think give a great overview of the types of services available to any adult that is eligible for services from the DOR.

Goal of the Department of Rehab: To assist individuals who need help obtaining and maintaining employment.  DOR has an assessment process that takes 2-3 weeks.  The assessment(s) take into account your jobs skills and your condition (disability).

Intake Process:  The intake meeting takes place with a counselor.  There is an application, health history questionnaire, and work history questionnaire.  The applicant needs either a CA ID or CA Driver’s License.  You will need a copy of your IEP so that you can verify your disability.  This intake meeting takes about an hour. DOR has a timeline of 60 days to determine eligibility.  A calculated score determines eligibility.  If your score is high/low enough, you qualify for services.   

Question to ask for parents: Should this paperwork be obtained and completed prior to intake or will a counselor assist as part of intake meeting?

If you qualify for services, the next step is to meet with your counselor to develop your IPE (Individualized Plan for Employment).  You will have objectives in your IPE this is similar to the IEP (Individualized Education Plan) you had in high school.  If you do not have a clear goal, they may give you the opportunity to take a vocational evaluation to help determine your goals and IPE.

There are two options within the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE):

     1.  Direct job placement - you want to get a job and start working.
  1. Job Training – You want a job that requires training from places such as community college, occupational centers, trade/tech schools such as LA Trade Tech, West LA College, Santa Monica College, LA City College, Southern California, Regional Occupational Program (SCROC).
In some cases DOR may help pay for books, supplies, uniforms, assisstive technology, licensing fees, transportation.  These services are based on individual need.

More about the IPE: You can change your plan.  Sometimes you have to change your goal.  For example if you are in a job-training program, DOR requires that you register with Disabled Programs & Services (DSPS).  DOR requires you to share your progress (grades) in your classes as part of your IPE.  This creates a nice support system between you the student, DOR, and DSPS.  If you are not performing (failing classes, absent, tardy) you will need to amend your plan.

Reminders/Final Thoughts
If/when you register with DSPS (Disabled Programs & Services) you get priority registration.  Even if you only get 1 day of priority, you will get to register ahead of a lot of other students.

The labor market is tough!  It’s been picking up lately, but there have been many cutbacks due to overseas competition and the advancement of technology.  Many jobs require an advanced degree.  Careers in culinary arts, cosmetology, and computers are good fields that are growing, and they don’t all require a Master’s degree.

The application process is to DOR is pretty involved (there are about 19-20 pages worth of forms).  Keep your appointments with DOR! They encourage you to begin the application process toward the end of 12th grade.  The reason for this is that your are still in high school and are therefore busy during the day.  

Parents: You’re next step (shall you decide to take it) is to call DOR and schedule an intake appointment.  If you have questions, you can contact your DOR caseworker or ask to speak with an available staff counselor.  You might want to call DOR and ask what is the earliest your son/daughter can sign up for an intake meeting.  It is best to wait until the end of 12th grade, but if you can get a head start on the process.especially if you want to get into a community college or training program.