SRC Meeting Minutes December 5, 2017

Document File


December 5, 2017


Sherri Clark, Randy Davis, Kim Drew-a.m. only, Page Eastin, Gary McDermott-by phone, Lori Moore, Rosie Thierer,

Brian Warner (non-voting), Alex Watters

Other: Amy Desenberg-Wines and Jessica Kreho (ICIE)

IVRS Support Staff: Jeff Haight, Kenda Jochimsen, Brandy McOmber, Kelley Rice, Lee Ann Russo, Michelle Krefft, IVRS Business Consultant


Nicole Cleveland, Jill Crosser, Pam Fitzsimmons, David Mitchell, Kathy Slater, Scott Turczynski


Vice Chair Alex Watters called the December 5, 2017, State Rehabilitation Council (SRC) meeting to order at 10:53 a.m., with introductions.


A quorum was established with 8 voting members present.


Rosie Thierer motioned to approve the agenda, Randy Davis seconded. Approved unanimously by voice vote.


Randy Davis motioned to approve the meeting minutes. Kim Drew seconded the motion. Minutes approved.


No public comment at this time.

Jeff Haight noted that David requested the member feedback surveys be distributed earlier in the day rather than at day’s end. Members are asked to record comments and ideas: What do you think is important? What are your takeaways? Anything that needs more explanation? Ideas or suggestions for change? Include any topics a member may want to know more about.


Amy Desenberg-Wines and Jessica Kreho presented on the work of ICIE and a summary of their contract activities with VR and SRC.

Background: A statewide systems-change grant was implemented six years ago. The initial grant was five years, ending a year ago. It has been extended through different efforts this last year. The focus is to look at the Iowa system and support better outcomes for integrated competitive employment for Iowans with disabilities, no matter where they live in the state.

The coalition has 250+ people and is continually growing. The goal of the coalition is not to simply increase the number of members, but rather, to attract a diversity of stakeholders to create different perspectives and greater understanding of what is needed for systems change.

David reached out to ICIE to continue their work after the grant ended to support ongoing engagement of the coalition. The VR contract includes support of coalition meetings, monthly community of practice calls as part of the statewide Employment First initiative, and utilizing the work of the coalition groups to help inform the SRC of information pertinent to the statewide needs assessment. The priority focus is to gather information to bring back to the SRC Outreach Committee for review, with discussion pertaining to VR service delivery issues observed statewide. ICIE developed a survey with a focus on partner input to send to stakeholders. They received 355 responses, with significant feedback. A second contract was developed with ICIE, which includes work pertaining to Section 511 implementation – regarding integrated competitive community employment and sub-minimum wage.

Amy felt the survey provided a good balance of what was going well and what could be improved. This particular survey did not have a lot of response extremes on the spectrum. The takeaway is that there is always room for improvement. At the September meeting the Outreach committee reviewed the survey and developed recommendations, using today’s meeting to further refine the proposed suggestions. ICIE did provide recommendations to the Outreach committee. However, there is concern that there is so much information that further time is needed to determine how to best use and refine the information they’ve gathered.

Amy noted it will take some time to review and be able to pull out areas of focus. With the addition of the ICIE service contract, the scope of the Outreach committee’s duties have changed significantly. She offered these suggestions:

  • The committee assess whether they have the right make-up of people to work on this project.
  • Are additional monthly teleconferences needed?
  • What is needed from VR and from ICIE?
  • ICIE has an opportunity to support the committees and SRC to better equip members to work with the information. She suggested perhaps an approach based on target evaluation and assessment to bring back to the Outreach committee and SRC. It is a process to evaluate and come up with the next steps. The hope is to extract focal points for IVRS, the Outreach Committee and SRC, with targeted efforts to implement changes, and then reassess the implemented strategies to determine outcomes.

No new recommendations will be presented to SRC today while committee members continue to digest the large volume of information and clarify their roles.

Rosie Thierer reminded all that next year the State Plan will be revised and updated. The Outreach committee has data to extract from the surveys and this could be a targeted piece for the State Plan. Alex suggested the committee look for common threads and then determine if anything is actionable.

Kenda shared that the VR agency took the information and met with the administration team and supervisors using a process to review, find recurring themes, and pulled out pieces that were meaningful – without focusing only on negative feedback. Supervisors are taking this information back to their area offices, and in January, they will come together and start the process of developing next steps. Kenda suggested including supervisors in Outreach Committee meetings so they can bring their perspectives to the table, and help translate data into action steps. Sherri Clark conveyed that she liked this suggestion and that the committee include the supervisors with opportunities to listen to their suggestions.


Outreach – Lori Moore, Committee Chair

Lori concurred with Amy that the Committee’s role has changed significantly in their scope of work and responsibilities as well as the need for recruitment of additional members. She reported they need to clarify their roles and prioritize their responsibilities, identifying how to proceed. Assistance is needed from both IVRS and the Outreach committee.

There is a need to potentially meet more frequently to review the survey data. She inquired as to whether meetings need to be posted as public meetings? Kelley Rice noted she thought any meeting must go through the usual public meeting process. Lori said they will need to determine an agenda, and whether the meeting will be in person, conference call or webinar.

Lori also noted the opportunity to update the State Plan. They want to be a source of information to support updating the Plan. The State Plan can be a very targeted document if utilizing the survey information. Their goal is to focus on the recommendations and also look at how that would inform the comprehensive needs assessment.

Lori suggested an additional survey be prepared to go out to the consumers and that the Service Delivery committee could work with the Outreach committee on this.

Legislative reception discussion: Should SRC invite the Education Appropriations committee? Page offered to help personalize invitations to them. David proposed a Top 10 list handout. It was suggested to keep refreshments simple – coffee and donuts suggested. Another comment is that the food is not attracting legislators and they have not been successful in getting donations for this. It was also suggested that Council members reach out to their local legislators with personal invitations to the SRC reception. Page showed a slide show video she prepared for the event. This would sit on a table and be shown in a continuous loop during the breakfast. Suggested changes will be made.

Rosie suggested members go to a legislator’s coffee or breakfast and use that as an opportunity to get the SRC reception on their calendar. Another suggestion was for Jill – as the SRC Chair, to do a 30-second clip on “this is what the SRC does,” and send to representatives prior to the SRC breakfast. Rosie noted that many legislators may not know that SRC is a governor-appointed board. She does not see sending information to legislators as a one-time, yearly effort and believes success will be in doing this in an ongoing manner over time. She also suggested linking information to Future Ready Iowa, IWD as our partner, and tie IVRS efforts to various state initiatives. Alex hoped a canned email could be crafted for a consistent message from members. Page also asked members if they wanted a presentation, at which the Governor may consider signing a proclamation. SRC members agreed to:

  • Personalized invitations (to the Education Appropriations committee)
  • Canned emails they could personalize to send to their legislators
  • Video which speaks about SRC

Lori shared the tri-fold draft of a new SRC brochure. The committee didn’t have a chance to review it as needed. Members felt the brochure is too wordy and should be revised to focus on recruitment, noting that SRC struggles to get people from business and industry. Rosie conveyed that the workforce board was recently expanded and many business members want to call in to attend meetings. Kim concurred that it is difficult for people to make an all-day commitment to a meeting. Lori noted there are three people whose terms will be up in June so recruitment efforts need to start soon. Page suggested a new recruitment platform – personalized messages from some members talking about SRC.

VR Service Delivery – Page Eastin, Committee Chair

Unified State Plan – looked at four areas. Why are the IVRS rehab rates lower? Committee members brainstormed ideas that might have an impact on the rehab rates. The committee will put together a list of items discussed and provide at the next council meeting. They didn’t get a chance to review the Consumer Satisfaction Survey so they will schedule a teleconference. NOTE: schedule and publicly post this meeting.

Handout for SRC Legislative Breakfast: There was a Top 10 handout. Alex suggested each bullet be condensed to one main point, perhaps with a larger font. The goal is to make the handout less wordy and quick and easy to read.

SRC Annual Report: Members were provided printed copies of the report in their handout packets and asked to write suggestions on the hard copies. Suggestions will be incorporated; an updated draft will be sent out to the membership for comment. Page noted it is similar to last year’s report. There were four versions of the report cover presented. Comments: it looks dated. Not engaging. Doesn’t showcase accomplishments. Did not like getting it at the meeting with little time to review. Alex suggested that perhaps he could find a graphic design student at his college to help with the layout and design. Alex said he has students looking for experience and would welcome the chance to note on their resume that they did an annual report for a state agency. Page asked if SRC would like to take more ownership of the project since this is an SRC project.

Members should provide annual report suggestions for content or layout to Page, who will provide to VR personnel.


Due to absence, there was no member spotlight.


Michelle Krefft, IVRS Business Consultant, provided an update on the agency’s business engagement activities, noting the culture of working with business is different than working with a job candidate. Iowa is creating a bridge between business and IVRS job candidates. The state is viewed nationally as a leader in VR business engagement. Highlights of Michelle’s presentation included business partnership success with Den Herder, Kwik Trip and Omega Cabinetry. Reverse job fairs are being used nationally but actually originated in Iowa. Twenty-six percent of job candidates who participate in the job fairs are hired – Waterloo had 12 job candidates and all 12 were hired.

Financial Literacy Training on Empowering People with Disabilities – Jill Crosser attended this training and then suggested VR staff participate in November with other partners and trainers from California and Washington, DC. There was an overflow crowd in attendance and was very well-received by participants. FDIC and CFPB said Iowa is a model state. There will be a training in March in the Mason City area for those who could not attend the November training. In addition, Michelle presented at the request of CSAVR on how Iowa implemented the literacy training with staff, business partners, Independent Living centers and banks. Rosie Thierer requested that she get a copy of messages that go out about these trainings so she can offer this support for the Older Worker Employment Program (OWEP).

Michelle noted that at the agency’s budget hearing, the governor was very interested in what IVRS is doing with business partners and inquired about the agency’s NDEAM activities. The governor expressed interest in partnering with IVRS to help promote these types of activities.

Alex suggested to Michelle that for the annual report, the business section include logos of current VR business partners with quotes/short statements from the business owner/president on their success with VR rather than the three stories. Additionally, he asked Michelle to provide suggestions of 2-3 business members that might be willing to serve on SRC.


Policy Resource Manager Brandy McOmber highlighted the changes in policy and the action taken from feedback provided at the last SRC meeting. A copy of the document SRC Policy Discussion Summary Sept. 19, 2017 was provided to members in their meeting packet.

  • Post-Secondary Policy: at this time, IVRS has updated the post-secondary fee schedule due to the need for authorizations to occur for students in January; this decision was made to make the rates more equitable for job candidates. They are currently working on the post-secondary policy; it remains a work in progress. Once a draft is developed – hopefully around February, she anticipates final decisions in May, which will include Coordinating Council (CC) and SRC input. Training to VR staff on the revised policy will be provided. 
  • Referral Policy: assured that wording reflects guardian signature is not required until intake. 
  • Self-Employment: this was presented to the SRC when Brandy was on maternity leave; all suggestions that were presented have now been updated in policy. 
  • Job Retention: proceeded with recommended changes which included removing the requirement to have proof that a job candidate is in danger of losing a job. 
  • Career Counseling: proceeded with action steps listed on the document provided. 
  • Rehabilitation Technology: revised policy as recommendations – please refer to document in meeting packet.

Kenda noted that once recommended changes are updated in policy, it is difficult to revise an already approved and updated policy. Brandy relayed that David suggested the possibility the SRC consider the VR Service Delivery Committee review policy and identify questions they may have. This could be done quarterly so they have familiarity with the sections being reviewed in Coordinating Council. This would be helpful to the SRC members as they would have a better opportunity to ask questions, identify areas they want more information on, and present issues. Brandy recommends that part of any work group meetings include a discussion on policies then additional time between meetings as homework to further review the policies. 

Changes to Coordinating Council (CC) process: The plan is to meet every other month in person or via technology. Each area office has one representative on the CC. The other members will include Page Eastin (CAP), Sandy Ostendorf with IVRS (to discuss IRSS and clerical issues impacting policy), Jyl Huskey with IVRS (to discuss financial issues impacting policy) and Brandy McOmber with IVRS (to act as facilitator). Initially, the CC will begin by reviewing several policies from the policy manual prior to each meeting.

IVRS CC members from the area offices will be expected to review these and present to their offices so they can bring a consensus of recommended changes to the CC meeting. Other CC members should review policies and bring the comments/recommendations to the meetings as well. The agency is looking for recommendations for change, not just a discussion of the issues. The CC will attempt to meet prior to the next SRC meeting and reach a majority consensus that isn’t contrary to federal regulations. Brandy will draft new policy with those changes taken into consideration, and present to IVRS management for review and then on to SRC for review. Upon receipt of all comments/suggestions, policy updates will occur and then presented to the Coordinating Council and SRC to demonstrate action taken based on their feedback. Policy will only be updated in the policy manual twice per year to not overwhelm staff and also to allow for meaningful training of staff to take place. Once all policies are updated, the CC will review the Menu of Services manual in the same manner, providing those comments to Lee Ann Russo for updates.


Alex noted that the Tax Reform bill was the biggest issue for NCSRC, with the triggering of the PAYGO system less imminent. Alex had already contacted his federal legislators and encouraged SRC members to do the same. Rosie added that what will happen with the bill isn’t a done deal, and this could certainly happen if congress doesn’t come to an agreement to waive the trigger. This will be a bad situation if it should happen. She also added that state employees could also contact their members of congress as private citizens when they are at home. They should be mindful not to use state resources or work time to do this.


Jeff Haight presented the report on David’s behalf. IVRS remains under a continuing resolution and are estimating a 6-8% decrease in the federal budget. The best-case scenario for the state budget is status quo funding. The VR budget presentation went well. As noted earlier, the governor wants to be involved in agency Disability Employment Awareness month activities. She also recognized IVRS participation in the Future Ready Iowa initiative. SRC members should let Jeff know if interested in a copy of the Future Ready Iowa final recommendations.

Steve Wooderson will be on a conference call at the February 2018 SRC meeting regarding Vision 2020. He will discuss his view from a federal level for VR state agencies.

David provided an Employment First update in his report. Members are asked to pay attention to the topics for the Community of Practice webinar calls, which will be held the second Tuesday of each month beginning January 2018 at 1:00 p.m. Contact Jessica Kreho at if you would like to be added to the contact list to be notified of upcoming webinars and how to access.

Jeff relayed that David is excited about events this past quarter, which included being a recipient of additional Employment First technical assistance, the Governor’s participation in the IVRS Iowa City student panel and IVRS’ recognition by the Governor for involvement in the IJAG senior high project. IVRS is the lead agency with the FDIC and IowaAble for Financial Literacy training.

Lastly, Iowa Workforce’s Director Townsend received a letter from the U.S. Department of Labor regarding a WIOA audit review that indicated issues and actions needed by the Workforce Development Board. Workforce will be looking at restructuring regions. Rosie Theirer recommended the letter be provided to SRC members, which Jeff will send out after the meeting.


Jeff noted that detailed financial data is included in member meeting packets. Highlights include:

  • IVRS Revenue –Similar for FFY2018, but with a lower state appropriation match.
  • Waiting List – as of 11/20/17, there are 676 job candidates on the waiting list – all are Others Eligible. This is 146 less than 8/31/17 and 28 more than a year ago on October 31, 2016.
  • Cumulative Successful Closures – There were 2,080 successful closures for FFY2017, which is 144 less than a year ago. FFY18 has a total of 90 successful closures, which is 22 more than this time last year.
  • Sustainability/Cash Flow – the model shows positive cash flow and carryover amounts for FFY2018. For 2019, it’s estimated total cash available will be $34.4 million with total estimated expenditures at $37.4 million. This is a difference of $3 million.
  • Case Service Authorizations – the total number of authorizations for FFY2017 was 2% less than a year ago October 31, 2016. However, the total dollar amount authorized for all case services this fiscal year is 4% more than a year ago.


Lee Ann Russo noted IVRS has contracts for six Independent Living (IL) Centers serving Iowans; three provide employment services. ILs are represented at the Financial Literacy Training. Partner contract reports include information that Amy Desenberg-Wines shared earlier – there were 11 comments related to partners. Concerns included the Menu of Services, indicating a need for this to be better organized. Lee Ann shared that in response to this feedback, IVRS is doing five things differently: 1) provide samples of completed forms in the manual and on the website, 2) revised some of the forms, 3) continue to emphasize the importance of reporting, and the documentation requirements 4) address concerns with ongoing training, and 5) encouraging communication with all. Brandy is going to look at the Menu of Services manual at the Coordinating Council meeting for additional comment and feedback.

There are currently 14 Intermediary Networks – community colleges that are under contract to employ staff to work directly with students with disabilities in selected Iowa high schools.


Staff attorney Kelley Rice updated members on the revision to the Appeal Request form for job candidates. Language regarding the 90-day deadline by which an appeal needs to be filed has been added. Kelley noted that job candidates do not have to complete the written form to request an appeal – it can also be done verbally within the 90-day timeframe.


Page Eastin presented the CAP report, which she completes after IVRS does their RSA-911 report. A detailed handout of the CAP report was provided in the meeting packet.

  • Highlights of the report included: Information and referral services provided to 361 Iowans – 90% related to service animals.
  • Conducted 17 trainings with 337 individuals in attendance.
  • Resolved 100% of CAP cases through alternate dispute resolution versus through litigation.

Page serves on the Disability Access Committee of the State Workforce Development Board. They are focused on increasing accessibility for people with disabilities, which includes physical and programmatic accessibility. The committee has also created staff training resources and targeted outreach to assess customer needs in each region.

  • Upcoming Activities: As the CAP representative, Page serves on the IVRS Coordinating Council (CC). There will be a joint effort between SRC and the CC in a comprehensive review of the IVRS policy manual.
  • CAP is partnering with the University of Iowa Center for Excellence on Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD) and will host eight screenings around the state of the documentary Bottom Dollars next spring. 
  • CAP is working on a publication featuring an analysis of the arguments for sheltered workshops and the resources/research supporting competitive integrated employment. 
  • CAP will also be publishing a guide for IVRS job candidates on Informed Choice.


Gary McDermott noted there is no report; they will be meeting this Thursday, December 7.


Members were reminded to leave feedback surveys regarding the meeting and feedback on the annual report on a back table, which Jeff Haight will collect and provide to Administrator Mitchell or others, as appropriate.


A motion for adjournment was made by Page Eastin and seconded by Lori Moore; all were in favor. The meeting adjourned at 2:03 p.m.

The next SRC meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 13, 2018, in Des Moines at the Jessie Parker Building, Knudsen Room, from 10:30 a.m. until 3 p.m., with committee meetings beginning at 9:30 a.m.

[Title]Meeting minutes approved by the Council on this date: Line to manually enter date of the Chairperson's approval signature.  

SRC Vice-Chair – Alex Watters Signature line for Chairperson.