[Federal Register: July 8, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 130)]
[Notices]              
[Page 39423-39425]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr08jy10-168]                              

Download: download files

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Part VI





Department of Education





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Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; National
Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)--Disability
and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program--
Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs)--Center on
Employment Policy and Measurement; Overview Information and Notice
Inviting Applications for New Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 and
Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP)--International
Exchange of Knowledge and Experts in Disability and Rehabilitation
Research: Overview Information and Notice Inviting Applications for New
Awards for Fiscal Year (FY) 2010; Notices


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research
(NIDRR)--Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers
Program--Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTCs)--Center
on Employment Policy and Measurement

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133B-4.

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

ACTION: Notice of final priority.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for the Disability and
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by
NIDRR. Specifically, this notice announces a priority for an RRTC on
Employment Policy and Measurement. The Assistant Secretary may use this
priority for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2010 and later years. We
take this action to focus research attention on areas of national need.
We intend this priority to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes
for individuals with disabilities.

DATES: Effective Date: This priority is effective August 9, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Marlene Spencer, U.S. Department of
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 5133, Potomac Center Plaza
(PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7532 or by e-
mail: Marlene.Spencer@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the
Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of final priority is in concert
with NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 (Plan). The Plan,
which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 (71 FR
8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.html.
    Through the implementation of the Plan, NIDRR seeks to: (1) Improve
the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2)
foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to
facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique
needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) determine best
strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for
underserved populations; (4) identify research gaps; (5) identify
mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) disseminate
findings.
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and
conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related
activities, including international activities, to develop methods,
procedures, and rehabilitation technology, that maximize the full
inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living,
family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals
with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe
disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized
under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act).

RRTC Program

    The purpose of the RRTC program is to improve the effectiveness of
services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through advanced
research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities
in general problem areas, as specified by NIDRR. Such activities are
designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with
disabilities, and the family members or other authorized
representatives of individuals with disabilities. In addition, NIDRR
intends to require all RRTC applicants to meet the requirements of the
General Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTC)
Requirements priority that it published in a notice of final priorities
in the Federal Register on February 1, 2008 (73 FR 6132). Additional
information on the RRTC program can be found at: 
http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html%23RRTC.

Statutory and Regulatory Requirements of RRTCs

    RRTCs must--
     Carry out coordinated advanced programs of rehabilitation
research;
     Provide training, including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training, to help rehabilitation personnel more effectively
provide rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities;
     Provide technical assistance to individuals with
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested
parties;
     Disseminate informational materials to individuals with
disabilities, their representatives, providers, and other interested
parties; and
     Serve as centers of national excellence in rehabilitation
research for individuals with disabilities, their representatives,
providers, and other interested parties.
    Applicants for RRTC grants must demonstrate in their applications
how they will address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals
with disabilities from minority backgrounds.
    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2).
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    We published a notice of proposed priority (NPP) for NIDRR's
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program in
the Federal Register on May 13, 2010 (75 FR 26952). The NPP included a
background statement that described our rationale for the priority
proposed in that notice.
    There are no differences between the NPP and this notice of final
priority (NFP) as discussed in the following section.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the NPP, we did
not receive any substantive comments on the proposed priority.
    Final Priority: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services announces a priority for a Rehabilitation
Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment Policy and
Measurement. The RRTC must conduct research, knowledge translation,
training, dissemination, and technical assistance to advance the
understanding of how government policies, and changes in policies,
affect employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities and to
expand the capacity of government agencies, other policy groups, and
consumer organizations to produce consistent data related to the
employment of individuals with disabilities. Under this priority, the
RRTC must contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) Increased knowledge of government policies and programs that
affect employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The RRTC
must contribute to this outcome by--
    (1) Conducting rigorous research on the ways in which policies,
changes in policies, and the interaction of policies such as those
reflected in the Workforce Investment Act, including the Vocational
Rehabilitation (VR) State Grants program; the Social Security
Disability Insurance and Supplemental Security Income programs; health
care initiatives; and other Federal or State programs affect employment
rates for individuals with disabilities. Examples of such policy topics
include, but are not limited to, the interaction between income support
programs, poverty, disability, and employment success; the

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interaction between requirements for the VR State Grants and Ticket to
Work programs; and the policy barriers to successful transition from
youth to adulthood for young people with disabilities;
    (2) Assessing existing research findings and other materials such
as agency documents or data to produce timely policy briefs on emerging
topics related to employment of individuals with disabilities; and
    (3) Identifying statistical methods that can be used to interpret
and compare data from different programs and data sets that provide
information on the employment of individuals with disabilities.
    (b) Improved capacity to measure the employment outcomes of
individuals with disabilities. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome
by--
    (1) Identifying or developing a framework that includes common
measures and metrics that capture the different types of employment
outcomes for individuals with disabilities, including wages, benefits,
employment retention and re-entry, and opportunities for advancement,
and that can be used to analyze and compare data across different
programs; and
    (2) Validating the new measures and metrics by collecting new data
or analyzing existing data to determine the properties of these
measures and metrics and their sensitivity to factors that are
hypothesized to affect employment among people with disabilities.
    (c) Increased incorporation of research findings from the RRTC
project into practice or policy. The RRTC must contribute to this
outcome by--
    (1) Collaborating with stakeholder groups to develop, evaluate, or
implement strategies to increase utilization of research findings;
    (2) Conducting training and dissemination activities to facilitate
the utilization of research findings by employers, policymakers, and
individuals with disabilities; and
    (3) Collaborating and sharing information with other agencies
across the Federal Government through mechanisms such as the
Interagency Committee on Disability Research.
    In addition, the RRTC must--
    (1) Establish an Interagency Advisory Group that includes, but is
not limited to, representatives from the Rehabilitation Services
Administration (RSA), the Office of Disability Employment Policy, the
Social Security Administration, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid
Services, and other agencies, as necessary, to ensure that the policy
topics address the issues of most concern across key agencies and to
guide development of the measures' framework;
    (2) Collaborate with appropriate NIDRR-funded grantees, including
knowledge translation grantees and grantees involved with employment
research; and
    (3) Collaborate with relevant RSA grantees and NIDRR-funded
Disability and Business Technical Assistance Centers.
    Types of Priorities: When inviting applications for a competition
using one or more priorities, we designate the type of each priority as
absolute, competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in
the Federal Register. The effect of each type of priority follows:
    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference
priority, we give competitive preference to an application by (1)
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2)
selecting an application that meets the priority over an application of
comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR
75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are
particularly interested in applications that meet the priority.
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note:  This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through
a notice in the Federal Register.

    Executive Order 12866: This notice has been reviewed in accordance
with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have
assessed the potential costs and benefits of this final regulatory
action.
    The potential costs associated with this final regulatory action
are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have
determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and
efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative
and qualitative--of this final regulatory action, we have determined
that the benefits of the final priority justify the costs.
    Discussion of Costs and Benefits: The benefits of the Disability
and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Programs have been
well established over the years in that similar projects have been
completed successfully. This final priority will generate new knowledge
through research and development.
    Another benefit of this final priority is that the establishment of
a new RRTC will improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The
new RRTC will disseminate and promote the use of new information that
will improve the options for individuals with disabilities to obtain,
retain, and advance in employment.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print,
audiotape, or computer diskette) by contacting the Grants and Contracts
Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW.,
room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-7363.
If you use a TDD, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-8339.
    Electronic Access to This Document: You can view this document, as
well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the
Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister. To
use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at
this site.

        Note: The official version of this document is the document
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: 
http://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.


    Dated: July 2, 2010.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2010-16673 Filed 7-7-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P