[Federal Register: July 17, 1997 (Volume 62, Number 137)]
[Page 38417-38420]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part IV

Department of Education


Rehabilitation Short-Term Training; Notices

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RIN 1820-ZA09

Rehabilitation Short-Term Training

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priority for fiscal year 1997.


SUMMARY: The Secretary announces a final funding priority for fiscal 
year 1997 under the Rehabilitation Short-Term Training program. The 
Secretary takes this action in order to improve the leadership among 
top-level managers and administrators of the State Vocational 
Rehabilitation (VR) Services program.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This priority takes effect on August 18, 1997.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sylvia Johnson, U.S. Department of 
Education, 600 Independence Avenue, SW., Room 330 Switzer Building, 
Washington, DC 20202-2649. Telephone: (202) 205-9312. Deaf and hearing 
impaired individuals may call (202) 205-8133 for TDD services. 
Internet: Sylvia__Johnson@ed.gov

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice contains a final priority under 
the Rehabilitation Short-Term Training program. This program supports 
special seminars, institutes, workshops, and other short-term courses 
in technical matters relating to vocational, medical, social, and 
psychological rehabilitation programs, independent living services 
programs, and client assistance programs.
    On May 20, 1997 the Secretary published a notice of proposed 
priority for this program in the Federal Register (62 FR 27680).

    Note: This notice of final priority does not solicit 
applications. A notice inviting applications under this competition 
is published in a separate notice in this issue of the Federal 

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to the Secretary's invitation in the notice of proposed 
priority, seven parties submitted comments. An analysis of the comments 
and of the changes in the priority since publication of the notice of 
proposed priority follows. Technical and other minor changes--and 
suggested changes the Secretary is not legally authorized to make under 
the applicable statutory authority--are not addressed.
    Comment: Two commenters identified two specific issues--increasing 
client choice and relationships with private sector rehabilitation--
that should be included as focal points in the development of 
leadership training.
    Discussion: The Secretary agrees with the importance of both of 
these topics to the public program of vocational rehabilitation. The 
first, client choice, was recommended as an example of an issue to be 
addressed in the proposed priority. The issue of private sector 
relationships was not used as an example, but the Secretary points out 
that there may be many issues of high importance to the public 
vocational rehabilitation program, and opinions will differ as to which 
is more important. That is why the advisory committee for the 
leadership institute is charged with final selection of issues that the 
institute will address through its training. Given the diversity of 
views reflected on the advisory committee, the most critical issues 
should surface as the appropriate foci for the institute. Increasing 
client choice and relationships with private sector rehabilitation may 
be among them.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters suggested that private sector 
rehabilitation professionals be included as training participants.
    Discussion: The Secretary points out that the priority was 
established in response to a specific need for training of public 
vocational rehabilitation professionals and their unique needs. The 
Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) recently established 10 
community rehabilitation program continuing education centers. These 
centers train staff of community rehabilitation programs that have a 
service arrangement with a State vocational rehabilitation agency to 
provide services to individuals with disabilities served by the State 
agency. These centers provide a broad, integrated sequence of training 
activities on a variety of issues, which may include leadership 
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter pointed out that in-service training grants 
would already have been awarded, along with negotiated three-year 
budgets, and suggested that RSA should allow flexibility in 
renegotiating in-service training grants to help pay for the States' 
share of leadership training activities.
    Discussion: The Secretary makes clear that the institute is 
responsible for determining the fee for each participant in the 
leadership training program. The Secretary did not specify that States 
must use dollars from their in-service training grants for this 
purpose. It is up to each State to determine how it will meet the 
mandatory participant fee established by the institute.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that, since the proposed 
leadership institute must coordinate with State VR in-service training 
programs and Rehabilitation Continuing Education Programs (RCEPs), they 
should be represented on the advisory committee.
    Discussion: The Secretary agrees that the perspective from both the 
in-service training program and the RCEPs should be represented on the 
advisory committee as they are a very significant source of training 
for State agency staff. State VR agency administrators are represented 
on the proposed advisory committee, but the Secretary agrees that it 
also would be important to include the State VR agency training 
specialist perspective. Likewise, RCEP representation was not 
specifically mentioned in the priority, but the Secretary agrees it 
should also be included.
    Changes: The priority has been changed to require the inclusion of 
both RCEP and State agency training specialist representation on the 
advisory committee.
    Comment: Two commenters identified specific models of leadership 
(e.g., Total Quality Management, the Bass Model of Transformational 
Leadership, or models that focus on behavioral characteristics of 
leadership) that should be incorporated into the activities of the 
leadership institute.
    Discussion: The Secretary agrees that there are many excellent 
models of leadership training that could be incorporated into the 
training curricula of the institute. It is the Secretary's expectation 
that applicants for this institute will propose those that are most 
appropriate for leaders in the field of rehabilitation. Peer reviewers 
will consider the appropriateness of models in assessing the 
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the competition should 
include an efficient means for determining whether the leadership 
models selected for the training institute apply to the field of 
    Discussion: As previously noted, the Secretary expects that the 
applicants will propose leadership models that are most appropriate for 
the field of rehabilitation. In addition, the Secretary points out that 
the selection criteria for the Short-Term Training program include 
``Relevance to the State-Federal rehabilitation service program.'' 
Within the context of the purpose of the grant, leadership training for 
public vocational

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rehabilitation administrators, this should adequately address the 
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters suggested specific training approaches 
(e.g., mentoring, distance learning, competency based training) that 
should be incorporated into the curriculum of leadership training.
    Discussion: The Secretary agrees that there are many excellent 
training approaches that could be incorporated into the curriculum of 
the leadership institute. It is the Secretary's expectation that 
applicants will propose those that are most appropriate for their 
particular project.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Two commenters suggested that training should support the 
needs of mid-level managers and supervisors in addition to top-level 
managers and administrators.
    Discussion: The Secretary believes that supervisory and mid-level 
management training is different from leadership training--supervision 
and mid-level management relate more generally to improving day-to-day 
performance while leadership training moves groups of employees in new 
directions and toward realizing organizational visions. The current 
system of RCEPs and in-service training can provide supervisory 
training. The leadership institute will focus on leadership training 
for top-level managers and administrators.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the priority should require 
more than one leadership institute.
    Discussion: The Secretary has determined that in order to ensure 
consistency of training and to ensure consistent substantial 
involvement of the Department with the institute, one leadership 
institute best meets the Department's needs. The Secretary also points 
out that an advisory committee, jointly selected by RSA and the 
institute, will be selected specifically to maintain the responsiveness 
of the institute and to keep it current in its content and approach.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the background section of the 
priority should recognize the need for improving processes in order to 
achieve high quality outcomes.
    Discussion: The Secretary believes that the substance of the 
comment is consistent with the intent of the statements in the 
background section. The context of the wording makes clear that State 
agency emphasis should be placed on outcome. This is consistent with 
both the current wording of the priority and the comment.
    Changes: None.
    Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) and section 302(a)(1) of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, the Secretary gives an absolute 
preference to applications that meet the following priority. The 
Secretary funds under this competition only applications that meet this 
absolute priority:

National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute


    The Secretary has determined that it is in the best interest of the 
State VR Services program to develop one national leadership training 
institute that focuses on leadership skills as applied to the unique 
issues facing State VR agencies. Progressive levels of training are 
needed to meet the varying needs of top-level managers and 
administrators. An advisory committee will provide input into the 
curriculum and direction concerning which issues the institute will 
address. Participating State agencies will be required to provide some 
degree of support to the program, as determined by the institute. The 
institute will evaluate its performance and report on progress 
annually. The notice of proposed priority published on May 20, 1997 in 
the Federal Register (62 FR 27680) includes more detail on the 
background related to this priority.


    The Secretary will establish a National Rehabilitation Leadership 
Institute that will focus on developing the leadership skills of top-
level managers and administrators in State VR agencies. The project 
must have plans for addressing the leadership needs in all VR agencies 
funded under the Act.
    The project must employ a curriculum that focuses on the 
development of leadership skills and on the application of those skills 
to current challenges and issues in the VR program. The project must be 
capable of structuring leadership curricula around current VR issues of 
national significance, such as using VR standards and indicators to 
assess and improve agency performance, coordinating effectively with 
generic employment and training programs, and increasing client choice. 
Actual issues will be determined by the advisory committee (described 
later in this notice) and the Secretary.
    The project must employ a curriculum that includes several levels 
of training to meet the needs of audiences ranging from new State 
administrators and directors to seasoned administrators and directors. 
The project's curriculum must include sequential courses that allow for 
repeated practice of newly learned skills over time, with performance 
feedback. The project must provide training in a peer setting.
    The project must coordinate its training activities with activities 
conducted under the State VR In-Service Training program and the 
Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program. These programs are also 
charged with improving the leadership skills of State agency personnel. 
Therefore, collaboration and coordination are necessary.
    The project must establish an advisory committee that includes RSA 
central and regional office representatives, representatives of State 
VR agency administrators and trainers, rehabilitation counselors, VR 
clients, Regional Continuing Education Centers, other educators and 
trainers of VR personnel, and others as determined to be appropriate by 
the grantee and RSA. This committee must provide substantial input on 
and direction to the training curriculum, including the specific VR 
issues to be incorporated.
    The project must include an evaluation component based upon clear, 
specific performance and outcome measures. The results must be reported 
in its annual progress report.
    The project must provide for some degree of participant 
contribution to training costs.

Goals 2000: Educate America Act

    The Goals 2000: Educate America Act (Goals 2000) focuses the 
Nation's education reform efforts on the eight National Education Goals 
and provides a framework for meeting them. Goals 2000 promotes new 
partnerships to strengthen schools and expands the Department's 
capacities for helping communities to exchange ideas and obtain 
information needed to achieve the goals.
    This final priority would address the National Education Goal that 
every adult American will be literate and will possess the knowledge 
and skills necessary to compete in a global economy and exercise the 
rights and responsibilities of citizenship. The final priority furthers 
the objectives of this Goal by focussing available funds on projects 
that improve the leadership skills of top administrators of State VR 
agencies, which will improve the

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responsiveness of the VR system to adults with disabilities and their 
vocational pursuits.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to the requirements of Executive Order 
12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR Part 79. The objective of the 
Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a 
strengthened federalism by relying on processes developed by State and 
local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    In accordance with the order, this document is intended to provide 
early notification of the Department's specific plans and actions for 
this program.

Applicable Program Regulations

    34 CFR Parts 385 and 390.

    Authority: 29 U.S.C. 774.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number: 84.246D, 
Rehabilitation Short-Term Training)

    Dated: July 14, 1997.
Judith E. Heumann,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 97-18928 Filed 7-16-97; 8:45 am]