[Federal Register: August 6, 2001 (Volume 66, Number 151)]
[Page 41125-41128]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]

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Part III

Department of Education


Rehabilitation Short-Term Training; Notice

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Rehabilitation Short-Term Training

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed priority.


SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for the Office of Special Education 
and Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority under the 
Rehabilitation Short-Term Training program. The Assistant Secretary may 
use this priority for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2002 and in 
later years. We take this action to focus on training in areas of 
national need. We intend the priority to improve the leadership among 
top-level managers and administrators of the State Vocational 
Rehabilitation Services Program.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before September 5, 2001.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this proposed priority to Sylvia 
Johnson, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 
3318, Switzer Building, Washington, DC 20202-2649. If you prefer to 
send your comments through the Internet, use the following address: 
    You must include the term ``Short-Term Training Program'' in the 
subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Sylvia Johnson. Telephone: (202) 205-
9312 or via Internet: Sylvia.Johnson@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the TDD number at (202) 205-8133.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 


Invitation to Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding this proposed priority. 
We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific requirements 
of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of reducing 
regulatory burden that might result from this proposed priority. Please 
let us know of any further opportunities we should take to reduce 
potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the 
effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this proposed priority in room 3414, Switzer Building, 
330 C Street SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 
4:00 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except 
Federal holidays.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for this proposed priority. If you want to schedule 
an appointment for this type of aid, you may call (202) 205-8113 or 
(202) 260-9895. If you use a TDD, you may call the Federal Information 
Relay Service (FIRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    We will announce the final priority in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priority after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing or funding 
additional priorities, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking 
    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this proposed priority, we invite applications 
through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we 
designate the priority as absolute, competitive preference, or 
invitational. 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 either (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on how well or 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 
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications 
(34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).


National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute


    The authority for us to establish training priorities under the 
Rehabilitation Short-Term Training program by reserving funds to 
support particular training activities is in section 302 of the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (the Act) (29 U.S.C. 772). Under 
this program we make awards to public agencies and private agencies and 
organizations, including institutions of higher education, Indian 
tribes, and tribal organizations. This program is designed for the 
support of special seminars, institutes, workshops, and other short-
term courses in technical matters relating to the vocational, medical, 
social, and psychological rehabilitation programs, independent living 
services programs, and client assistance programs.
    The State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program continues to 
undergo significant change. In addition to serving increased numbers of 
individuals with significant disabilities, the vocational 
rehabilitation (VR) programs are seeking to reach unserved and 
underserved populations, including individuals from linguistically and 
culturally diverse backgrounds. In their efforts to improve the 
employment outcomes of the individuals they serve, State VR agencies 
must remain alert to this ever-changing environment. For example, State 
VR agencies regularly analyze their practices, policies, and procedures 
and make adjustments that will promote responsive service delivery. In 
addition, State VR agencies are increasingly recognizing that their 
success in promoting the employment of their consumers depends in part 
on the strength of their linkages with employers and with generic 
employment and training programs.
    The changed environment of State VR agencies demands a different 
set of skills from leaders and managers than has traditionally been 
required. Managers and leaders in the VR system need to develop new 
skills that will enable them, for example, to change their agencies' 
focus from processes and compliance to the achievement of high-quality 
outcomes and to build working relationships with organizations outside 
their agencies.

Elements of a VR Leadership Training Program

    To have maximum utility to administrators in the State VR Services 
Program, a leadership training program must include training in 

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skills that includes periodic reinforcement and feedback to 
participants, application of leadership skills to VR issues, and 
provision of training in a peer setting. Many skills associated with 
effective leadership can be taught, given sufficient instruction, 
practice, and feedback on performance.
    Effective skills training uses a strategy of repeated practice over 
time with feedback on performance. In the training arena, this often 
translates into providing a series of training programs. The time 
between training programs is used for practicing newly learned skills. 
Subsequent events allow for feedback by instructors and peers on their 
efforts. For example, an institute may propose a series of short 
courses (several days each) over the course of a year, each building 
upon the other. The time between the courses would be used to try out 
new techniques and exercise new skills. At the next course, experiences 
may be discussed to allow the instructors to provide feedback. The 
instructors then would move on to new topics. It is a progressive 
learning technique that has proven effective, especially when training 
busy professionals such as rehabilitation administrators. There also 
may be a ``pick and choose'' series of courses from which a given 
administrator, in concert with a training specialist on the grantee's 
staff, could select to develop a ``customized'' program of learning. 
Efforts such as these have proven to be effective in programs designed 
for busy professionals.
    The second element of effective VR leadership training is the 
application of training to actual issues. This approach both helps 
trainees solve real problems and relates to a long-held principle of 
adult learning: Adults learn most effectively when the content of the 
training is directly related to issues they face. Within VR, new 
policies, initiatives, and legislation will require top administrators 
and directors to make major changes in procedures and practices within 
their agencies. Tying the content of leadership training to these types 
of issues makes the training in leadership skills more effective and 
helps solve real world problems.
    The third element of effective leadership training is the provision 
of training in a peer setting. A well-tested management principle 
relates to the benefits of working in teams with others who face 
similar situations. Group, as opposed to individual, examination of 
issues often reveals a wider range of options for addressing those 
issues and results in better solutions.
    Leadership skills, like all skills, can improve over time. 
Therefore, we consider progressive levels of leadership training 
programs, such as courses for new directors, programs for 
administrators and directors with various levels of experience, and 
seminars for seasoned administrators and directors, essential to 
meeting the diverse needs of VR administrators and directors.
    We have determined that it is in the best interest of the State VR 
Services Program to provide leadership skills training through one 
national institute. Having one institute lends consistency in the 
quality and content of training and better enables us to monitor the 
quality and relevance of the training. We intend to be involved with 
the grantee to provide direction and technical assistance on the 
content of the training.
    To expand the funding base for the project and to encourage State 
agencies to contribute to the costs of training, we are proposing that 
participants be required to provide some level of contribution for 
    In summary, we have determined that it is in the best interest of 
the State VR Services Program to develop a leadership training program 
that focuses on leadership skills as applied to the unique issues 
facing the VR agencies in a peer setting. Progressive levels of 
training are needed to meet the varying needs of administrators and 
directors. One institute would ensure consistency in training and 
provide for better quality control. State agencies would be required to 
provide some degree of support to the program.
    Proposed Priority: We propose to fund one project to 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 
and programs funded under section 121 of 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 evaluation standards and 
performance indicators to assess and improve agency performance, 
coordinating effectively with generic employment and training programs, 
and increasing client choice. The advisory committee (described later 
in this notice) and the Assistant Secretary will determine actual 
    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 Vocational Rehabilitation Unit In-Service 
Training program, the Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program, and 
the National Technical Assistance Centers funded by the Rehabilitation 
Services Administration (RSA). 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, tribes and tribal agencies, 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 be designed to ensure that State agencies will 
contribute to the costs of the participant's training.

National Education Goals

    The eight National Education Goals focus the Nation's education 
reform efforts and provide a framework for improving teaching and 
    This proposed 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.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive 
order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a

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strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies on processes 
developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of 
proposed Federal financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR parts 385 and 390.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    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://

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

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 772.

    Dated: July 31, 2001.
Francis V. Corrigan,
Deputy Director, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation 
[FR Doc. 01-19528 Filed 8-3-01; 8:45 am]