FR Doc 2010-16937
[Federal Register: July 12, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 132)]
[Notices]               
[Page 39779-39782]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr12jy10-91]                               

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Part III





Department of Education





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National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program--
Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP)--Center on Knowledge 
Translation (KT) for Employment Research (Center); Notices


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR)--Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers 
Program--Disability Rehabilitation Research Project (DRRP)--Center on 
Knowledge Translation (KT) for Employment Research (Center)

Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133A-5.

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 a DRRP to 
serve as the Center on Knowledge Translation (KT) for Employment 
Research (Center). The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for a 
competition 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 11, 2010.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn Medley, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5140, Potomac Center Plaza 
(PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7338 or by e-
mail: Lynn.Medley@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 DRRP program is to improve the effectiveness of 
services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, 
by developing methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technologies that 
advance a wide range of independent living and employment outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most 
severe disabilities. DRRPs carry out one or more of the following types 
of activities, as specified and defined in 34 CFR 350.13 through 
350.19: Research, training, demonstration, development, dissemination, 
utilization, and technical assistance. An applicant for assistance 
under this program must demonstrate in its application how it will 
address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with 
disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 350.40(a)). The 
approaches an applicant may take to meet this requirement are found in 
34 CFR 350.40(b). In addition, NIDRR intends to require all DRRP 
applicants to meet the requirements of the General Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Requirements priority that it 
published in a notice of final priorities in the Federal Register on 
April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472).
    Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: 
http://www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#DRRP.

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).
    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 17, 2010 (75 FR 27544). The NPP included a 
background statement that described our rationale for the priority 
proposed in that notice.
    There is one significant difference 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, one party submitted 
comments on the proposed priority. An analysis of the comments and of 
the changes in the priority since publication of the NPP follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes or 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general 
comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed 
priority.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes:
    Comment: One commenter noted that the priority requires the Center 
to actively engage ``vocational rehabilitation (VR) practitioners'' in 
its work. This commenter asked whether the term ``VR practitioners'' 
refers only to State VR agencies and their staff, or if the term could 
also include staff of rehabilitation service providers such as 
Community Rehabilitation Programs.
    Discussion: As used in the priority, the term ``VR practitioners'' 
refers specifically to State VR agencies and their staff. However, 
applicants are free to expand the use of this term to include other 
rehabilitation professionals, such as staff from Community 
Rehabilitation Programs.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: In reference to paragraph (c) of the priority, one 
commenter noted that it would be beneficial for the Center to 
coordinate with, and provide training and technical assistance to, 
NIDRR's Disability and Business Technical Assistance Center (DBTAC) 
grantees, as well as relevant RSA grantees such as the Technical 
Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Centers.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that the Center should coordinate with the 
DBTAC grantees and TACE Centers and that these grantees would benefit 
from the work of the Center. Therefore, NIDRR is changing the priority 
accordingly.
    Changes: NIDRR has revised paragraphs (c)(1) and (c)(2) of the 
priority to require the Center to coordinate its activities with RSA-
funded grantees, as well as NIDRR-funded grantees. NIDRR has also 
revised paragraph (c)(1) of the priority to include the DBTACs and the 
TACE Centers as examples of relevant RSA- and NIDRR-funded grantees 
that could benefit from the training and technical assistance provided 
by the Center.
    Final Priority:
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services announces a priority for a Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research Project (DRRP) to serve as the Center on Knowledge Translation 
(KT) for Employment Research (Center). The purpose of the Center is to 
conduct systematic reviews of research findings to identify evidence-
based practices and other information that can be used to improve 
employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, to identify 
research

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gaps, and to investigate and promote effective strategies to increase 
the appropriate use of these findings. The Center must conduct rigorous 
and relevant research, development, technical assistance, 
dissemination, and utilization activities.
    These activities must contribute to: (1) Improved knowledge of the 
state of research relevant to improving employment outcomes for 
individuals with disabilities; (2) improved knowledge of the findings 
from high-quality research; (3) identification of practices that are 
promising or proven to have been effective for specific purposes or 
target audiences; and (4) improved knowledge on the part of consumers 
and others not only of the research findings but also of the strengths 
of the findings and the appropriate use of the research information. 
These outcomes will lead to the increased use of research-based 
knowledge related to improving employment outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities by the following user groups: Individuals with 
disabilities, employers, policy makers, and vocational rehabilitation 
(VR) practitioners. The Center must work in partnership with 
organizations representing these user groups. These user groups must be 
actively engaged in the planning, conduct, and evaluation of all 
project activities.
    Under this priority, the Center must contribute to the following 
outcomes:
    (a) Establishment of available employment-related knowledge that 
can be used to inform behavior, practices, or policies that improve 
employment outcomes of individuals with disabilities. The Center must 
contribute to this outcome by:
    (1) Systematically reviewing existing research to identify findings 
that can be used by individuals with disabilities, employers, policy 
makers, and VR practitioners to improve the employment of individuals 
with disabilities. The Center must conduct systematic reviews of 
individual studies to assess their strengths and weaknesses; summarize 
findings; assess the appropriate uses of the findings; determine the 
relevance of the findings; and make the information publicly available. 
In so doing, the Center must take into account the types of research 
and stages of knowledge development (i.e., the type of research 
questions being addressed and the methods employed) in each area.
    (2) Producing syntheses on topics, including promising and proven 
practices, for which the Center determines the research to be of 
sufficient quality and relevance pursuant to paragraph (a)(1) of this 
priority. The Center must use standards and methods that are 
appropriate for the type of research, the stage of knowledge in the 
identified areas, and its intended use to categorize, evaluate, and 
synthesize the research findings identified in paragraph (a)(1) of this 
priority.
    (3) Suggesting priorities for a future research agenda based on the 
knowledge gaps discovered through the review of existing research 
findings in paragraph (a)(1) of this priority.
    (b) Establishment of effective approaches and strategies to promote 
the appropriate use of research findings on improving the employment of 
individuals with disabilities, by individuals with disabilities, 
employers, policy makers, and VR practitioners.
    The Center must contribute to this outcome by:
    (1) Conducting research on factors impeding and contributing to the 
use of research findings on employment of individuals with disabilities 
by individuals with disabilities, employers, policy makers, and VR 
practitioners.
    (2) Identifying, selecting, refining, and testing approaches and 
strategies that can be used to promote the appropriate use of research 
findings on employment of individuals with disabilities by individuals 
with disabilities, employers, policy makers, and VR practitioners. 
These approaches and strategies must be refined and tested within each 
of the user groups. The Center must use at least one of the areas of 
the synthesized knowledge from paragraph (a)(2) of this priority as a 
subject for further refinement and testing of KT approaches and 
strategies.
    (c) Increased utilization of approaches and strategies determined 
to be effective under paragraph (b) of this priority to promote the use 
of research findings on employment of individuals with disabilities. 
The Center must contribute to this outcome by:
    (1) Providing training and technical assistance to relevant RSA- 
and NIDRR-funded grantees in the employment area to facilitate the 
implementation and evaluation of these KT approaches and strategies. 
Relevant RSA-funded grantees include, but are not limited to, the 
Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Centers. NIDRR-
funded grantees in the employment area include a number of research 
grantees, as well as the Disability and Business Technical Assistance 
Center (DBTAC) grantees.
    (2) Coordinating KT research and development activities with 
existing NIDRR- and RSA-funded KT and employment projects through 
consultation with NIDRR project officers.
    (3) Using appropriate approaches and strategies established under 
paragraph (b) of this priority to disseminate the synthesized knowledge 
established under paragraph (a) of this priority to individuals with 
disabilities, employers, policy makers, and VR practitioners.
    (4) Organizing and hosting a state-of-the-science conference by the 
end of the fourth project year.
    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)).

    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 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

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established over the years in that similar projects have been completed 
successfully. This priority will generate new knowledge through 
research, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical 
assistance projects that will enhance the lives of individuals with 
disabilities by improving their employment outcomes.
    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 7, 2010.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2010-16937 Filed 7-9-10; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P