FR Doc E8-12121[Federal Register: May 30, 2008 (Volume 73, Number 105)]
[Notices]               
[Page 31078-31083]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
[DOCID:fr30my08-38]                           

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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program--
Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs)

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed priorities.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes two funding priorities for the 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program 
administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research (NIDRR). Specifically, this notice proposes a priority for a 
DRRP for a Research and Technical Assistance Center on Vocational 
Rehabilitation Program Management, and a priority for a DRRP entitled 
Center on the Effective Delivery of Rehabilitation Technology by State 
Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies To Improve Employment Outcomes. The 
Assistant Secretary may use these priorities for competitions in fiscal 
year (FY) 2008 and later years. We take this action to focus research 
attention on areas of national need. We intend these priorities to 
improve rehabilitation services and employment outcomes for individuals 
with disabilities.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before June 30, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about these proposed priorities to 
Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., 
Room 6029, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2700. If you 
prefer to send your comments through the Internet, use the following 
address: donna.nangle@ed.gov.
    You must include the priority title in the subject line of your 
electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle. Telephone: (202) 245-
7462 or by e-mail: donna.nangle@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), call the 
Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities can 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 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: This notice of proposed priorities (NPP) is 
in concert with President George W. Bush's New Freedom Initiative (NFI) 
and NIDRR's Final Long-Range Plan for FY 2005-2009 (Plan). Information 
about the NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: 
http://www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/newfreedom.
    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 NFI and 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.

Invitation To Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding these proposed 
priorities. To ensure that your comments have maximum effect in 
developing the notice of final priorities, we urge you to identify 
clearly the specific proposed priority or topic that each comment 
addresses.
    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 these proposed 
priorities. 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 these proposed priorities in Room

[[Page 31079]]

6029, 550 12th Street, SW., Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC, 
between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 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 these proposed priorities. If you want to 
schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    We will announce the final priorities in one or more notices in the 
Federal Register. We will determine the final priorities after 
considering responses to this notice and other information available to 
the Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing or 
using additional priorities, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking 
requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use these proposed priorities, we invite 
applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting 
applications we designate the priorities 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 competitive preference priority 
(34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets 
the competitive preference 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 invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over 
other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

Priorities

    In this notice, we are proposing two priorities for DRRPs.
     Priority 1--Research and Technical Assistance Center on 
Vocational Rehabilitation Program Management.
     Priority 2--Center on the Effective Delivery of 
Rehabilitation Technology by State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies 
to Improve Employment Outcomes.

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program

    The purpose of the DRRP program is to improve the effectiveness of 
services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended 
(the Act), 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, development, demonstration, 
training, 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.
    Proposed Priority 1--Research and Technical Assistance Center on 
Vocational Rehabilitation Program Management.

Background

    The State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services program, 
authorized by title I of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended 
(the Act), provides a wide range of services designed to help 
individuals with disabilities prepare for and engage in gainful 
employment. The program is carried out by VR agencies designated by 
each State. There are currently a total of 80 State agencies. Thirty-
two States operate a ``combined'' agency serving individuals with 
disabilities, without regard to their disability. Twenty-four States 
operate a separate agency for individuals who are blind or visually 
impaired, and a ``general'' agency for individuals with all other 
disabilities.
    State VR agencies face numerous challenges in their efforts to 
assist individuals with disabilities, particularly individuals with 
significant disabilities, to achieve employment outcomes.\1\ These 
challenges include: Determining what criteria should be used to 
categorize individuals' disabilities as ``most significant'' or 
``significant'' when implementing an order of selection; \2\ attracting 
and retaining qualified personnel; and evaluating the effectiveness of 
services provided. These challenges affect the ability of State VR 
agencies to pursue the overall goal of the VR Services program, which 
is to help persons with disabilities prepare for and engage in gainful 
employment.
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    \1\ In the regulations for the Department's State VR program, an 
employment outcome is defined as entering or retaining full-time or, 
if appropriate, part-time competitive employment, as defined in 34 
CFR 361.5(b)(11), in the integrated labor market, supported 
employment, or any other type of employment in an integrated 
setting, including self-employment, telecommunicating, or business 
ownership, that is consistent with an individual's strengths, 
resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, 
and informed choice (see 34 CFR 361.5(b)(16)).
    \2\ Federal law and regulations (section 101(a)(5) of the Act 
and 34 CFR 361.36) stipulate that if a State VR agency does not have 
the resources to serve all eligible VR consumers, it must serve 
first those who have ``the most significant disabilities.''
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    Preliminary FY 2007 data from the Rehabilitation Services 
Administration's (RSA) Cumulative Caseload Report (RSA-113) show that 
approximately 981,054 individuals received VR services, including 
346,835 individuals whose cases were closed after receiving services. 
Of individuals whose cases were closed, 205,448 (59.6 percent) achieved 
an employment outcome after receiving services through the State VR 
program.
    It is important to note that, in FY 2006, 18 percent of State VR 
agencies failed to achieve the minimum required employment outcome rate 
of 55.8 percent among individuals served by the program, and there is 
significant variation among State VR agencies in key programmatic 
outcomes such as employment and cost per employment outcome. For 
example, in FY 2006, while four State VR agencies succeeded in 
obtaining employment outcomes for at least 70 percent of individuals 
served, approximately seven State VR agencies failed to obtain 
employment outcomes for half (50 percent) of the individuals served, 
and several State VR agencies failed to obtain employment outcomes for 
even 40 percent of the individuals served. Likewise, in FY 2006, the 
average cost per employment outcome for general and combined State VR 
agencies (excluding the outlying areas) ranged from approximately 
$5,215 to $34,414.
    RSA monitoring reviews and reviews of annual State plans suggest 
that these differences in State outcomes may be

[[Page 31080]]

attributable to differences in State VR agency management practices, 
particularly practices relating to planning, analysis, and use of data 
for making management decisions. Persistent State VR agency management-
related needs include, at a minimum: Developing and implementing 
effective quality assurance processes; conducting high quality 
strategic planning; and improving the overall quality of human resource 
development and retention strategies. We believe that promoting 
improvement in these critical areas would enhance State agency 
capacity, increase the cost-effectiveness of service delivery 
mechanisms, and ultimately improve the ability of State VR agencies to 
achieve high quality employment outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities.
    Section 101(a)(15) of the Act requires State VR agencies to engage 
in a variety of planning activities, including, but not limited to: 
Conducting a comprehensive statewide needs assessment every three 
years; identifying goals and priorities that the State VR agency will 
pursue in carrying out the program; describing strategies to address 
the needs identified in the comprehensive statewide needs assessment; 
and evaluating the effectiveness of the VR program, including whether 
the program goals were achieved and the extent to which specific 
strategies contributed to meeting these goals.
    After reviewing FY 2007 and 2008 annual VR State plans, RSA 
recommended that 25 State VR agencies improve one or more of the 
following: The quality of their goals and strategies; the connection 
between the results of their comprehensive needs assessment and their 
goals and priorities; and the extent to which they evaluated the 
effectiveness of their strategies. In addition, of the 23 State VR 
agencies that RSA monitored in FY 2007, RSA determined that 17 (74 
percent) need technical assistance (TA) in developing strategic goals.
    Recent RSA monitoring also suggests that there is a great deal of 
variability in the effectiveness of State VR agency quality assurance 
(QA) systems, and that most State agency's QA systems need to be 
improved in several critical ways. For example, while the QA mechanisms 
in many State VR agencies examine documentation of services provided, 
few State QA systems use data to evaluate the quality of other aspects 
of service delivery and program performance.
    In addition, section 101(a)(7) of the Act, containing the 
Comprehensive System of Personnel Development (CSPD), in part, requires 
State VR agencies to establish qualified personnel standards for 
rehabilitation personnel, including VR counselors, that are consistent 
with any national or State-approved or recognized certification, 
licensing, or registration that apply to a particular profession.
    For years, the demand for new State VR agency counselors has far 
exceeded the supply. According to a study conducted in 2002 by the 
American Institutes for Research, A Profile of the Demand for and 
Supply of Qualified State Rehabilitation Counselors, (Chan & Ruedel, 
2007), State VR agencies reported that they expected to lose 
approximately 43 percent of VR counselors through attrition or 
retirement by 2007. According to this same study, 27 percent of current 
State VR agency staff do not meet their State's CSPD personnel 
standards and require retraining, 88 percent of those who meet their 
State's personnel standards require continuing education to maintain 
their credentials, and rehabilitation training programs are producing 
only enough graduates to meet 30 percent of the need for new 
counselors.
    During RSA's FY 2007 monitoring reviews, RSA identified needs in 
the following areas related to human resource management: Implementing 
the State's CSPD; developing training to improve staff skills in areas 
such as job placement; developing and implementing effective 
recruitment and retention strategies for qualified staff, including 
staff with diverse backgrounds; maintaining efficient caseload 
management strategies; and evaluating the relationship between staffing 
patterns and program performance.
    During FY 2007 monitoring, State VR agencies overwhelmingly 
requested information regarding promising practices utilized by other 
State VR agencies that could be replicated in their own agencies to 
improve performance in human resource management. Among other things, 
they requested information on successful recruitment and retention 
strategies, and caseload management strategies.
    NIDRR is proposing to establish a Research and Technical Assistance 
Center on Vocational Rehabilitation Program Management that will help 
State VR agencies improve their management in a number of areas, 
including quality assurance, strategic planning, and human resource 
development and retention.

References

    Chan, T., & Ruedel, K. (2007). A Profile of the Demand for and 
Supply of Qualified State Rehabilitation Counselors. Washington, DC: 
U.S. Department of Education.

Proposed Priority

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority to establish, under the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Program (DRRP), a Research and Technical 
Assistance Center on Vocational Rehabilitation Program Management 
(Center). The Center must conduct research to develop a model of 
vocational rehabilitation (VR) program management, which must include a 
focus on quality assurance, strategic planning, and human resource 
management. The Center must then develop and test this model, and use 
it as the basis for training and technical assistance (TA) to improve 
management practices within individual State VR agencies.
    Under this priority, the Center must be designed to contribute to 
the following outcomes:
    (a) New knowledge of effective VR program management. The Center 
must contribute to this outcome by identifying effective VR program 
management practices, including at a minimum, practices in the areas of 
quality assurance, strategic planning, and human resource management. 
The Center's work in this area must be designed to result in knowledge 
that could be used to assist State VR agencies to--
     Develop agency goals and strategies, and evaluate progress 
made toward achieving these goals;
     Develop key performance measures and use performance data 
for program improvement;
     Develop methodologies to ensure that performance data are 
accurate and analyses of the data are sound;
     Implement effective quality assurance processes;
     Implement effective fiscal planning and accountability 
mechanisms;
     Implement effective employee training, staff development, 
and career development; and
     Implement effective leadership development and succession 
planning.
    (b) A new evidence-based model of effective VR program management 
(VR Program Management Model). The Center must contribute to this 
outcome by partnering with approximately 5-10 State VR agencies to 
develop a VR Program Management Model that, to the maximum extent 
possible, is informed by evidence of the effectiveness of specific 
management practices. Applicants must describe in their applications 
the methods and criteria they will use to recruit and select State

[[Page 31081]]

VR agencies with which they will partner (Partner State VR Agencies) 
for this activity. NIDRR will review and approve the final selection of 
Partner State VR Agencies. The Center must work with the Partner State 
VR Agencies to identify, describe, and document the components of the 
VR Program Management Model, which must include, at a minimum, quality 
assurance, strategic planning, and human resource management 
components.
    (c) Enhanced VR program management through Implementation of the VR 
Program Management Model. The Center must contribute to this outcome by 
developing exemplars, tools, and guidance that other State VR agencies 
(i.e., State VR agencies that are not Partner State VR Agencies) can 
use to implement the VR Program Management Model within their unique 
contexts. The Center must provide training and TA to individual State 
VR agencies to facilitate the implementation of some or all of the 
components of the VR Program Management Model, depending on the unique 
needs of the agency's VR program.
    In addition, the Center must--
     Disseminate TA materials that it has developed on program 
management topics under paragraph (c) of this priority to other 
projects that provide TA to State VR agencies (e.g., the Technical 
Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) projects that RSA intends to 
fund in FY 2008).
     Coordinate TA with all entities that comprise the national 
VR TA network, including: the 10 regionally based TACE projects that 
RSA intends to fund in FY 2008 under title III of the Act; the IL-Net 
Training and Technical Assistance projects for centers for independent 
living and statewide independent living councils funded by RSA under 
title VII of the Act; the national VR TA center that RSA intends to 
fund in FY 2008 under section 12 of the Act; and NIDRR's Rehabilitation 
Research and Training Centers focused on employment. Coordination is 
intended to ensure consistency of TA provided nationally on VR program 
management.
     Each year after year one of the project period, plan to 
present findings at a three-day national conference of State VR 
administrators to be held in Washington, DC.
    Proposed Priority 2--Center on the Effective Delivery of 
Rehabilitation Technology by State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies 
To Improve Employment Outcomes.

Background

    On February 1, 2001, President George W. Bush announced the New 
Freedom Initiative (NFI), a comprehensive strategy for the full 
integration of individuals with disabilities into all aspects of 
American life. Two key goals of the NFI are the integration of 
individuals with disabilities into the workplace, and the use of 
technology to increase access to school, work, and community life for 
individuals with disabilities. While many individuals with disabilities 
could benefit from greater access to technology, particularly 
rehabilitation technology (RT),\3\ for individuals with certain 
disabilities such access is essential to achieving and maintaining 
employment.
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    \3\ Under 34 CFR 361.5(b)(45) of the regulations for the State 
vocational rehabilitation (VR) program and consistent with section 
7(30) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 as amended, 29 U.S.C. 
705(30) (Act), RT means the systematic application of technologies, 
engineering methodologies, or scientific principles to meet the 
needs of and address the barriers confronted by individuals with 
disabilities in areas which include education, rehabilitation, 
employment, transportation, independent living, and recreation. The 
term includes rehabilitation engineering, assistive technology 
devices, and assistive technology services.
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    Despite the importance of RT, there has been limited research on 
its use in the workplace or its impact on employment outcomes (as the 
term is defined in 34 CFR 361.5(b)(16)) (Loprest, 2007).
    Title I of the Act authorizes State VR agencies to provide RT to 
individuals who qualify for VR services. Specifically, when developing 
an individualized plan for employment (IPE), a VR counselor must 
consider an individual's need for RT. The Rehabilitation Services 
Administration (RSA) collects data about individuals served by State VR 
agencies and the RT services they receive. FY 2006 VR data from the RSA 
Case Service Report (RSA-911) show that 75 percent of individuals with 
disabilities who received RT achieved an employment outcome, while only 
57 percent of individuals with disabilities who did not receive RT 
achieved an employment outcome. While these data indicate that 
individuals who receive RT as part of an IPE are more likely to achieve 
employment outcomes than those who do not, further study is needed to 
determine under what circumstances RT affects the achievement of 
employment outcomes for individuals served by employment and training 
programs.
    Despite indications that RT services may play an important role in 
achieving employment outcomes, provision of RT services by State VR 
agencies varies significantly. In FY 2006, individual State VR agency 
expenditures for RT ranged from 0 percent to 14 percent of total 
expenditures; the median percentage of expenditures was 3.23 percent 
(Annual Vocational Rehabilitation Program/Cost Report (RSA-2)).
    Variations in the provision of RT services among VR agencies may 
result from a number of factors. For example, there may be significant 
differences in the attitude toward, awareness of, and approach to RT 
among VR agency personnel; consumers who use RT consider such attitudes 
to be critical to employment outcomes. Unfortunately, most VR 
personnel's knowledge of RT is not as extensive as their knowledge of 
other areas of rehabilitation; therefore, ensuring that personnel have 
appropriate expertise in RT is an ongoing need for which employment and 
training programs must plan and budget (Institute on Rehabilitation 
Issues, 1998).
    Similar to the lack of research on RT use in the workplace and its 
impact on employment outcomes, there is little research on the factors 
that create barriers to the successful provision of RT, or on 
strategies used in employment programs to overcome those barriers.
    NIDRR is proposing to establish a Center on the Effective Delivery 
of Rehabilitation Technology by State Vocational Rehabilitation 
Agencies to Improve Employment Outcomes. This center will conduct 
research on the effective delivery of RT services in employment and 
training programs and disseminate information about this research to 
help State VR agencies improve their provision of effective RT 
services.

References

    Loprest, P. (2007). Strategic Assessment of the State of the 
Science in Research on Employment for Individuals with Disabilities. 
Final Report to the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research, U.S. Department of Education.
    Proceedings from the Twenty-fourth Institute on Rehabilitation 
Issues. (May, 1998). Achieving Successful Employment Outcomes With the 
Use of Assistive Technology. Menominee, WI: University of Wisconsin.

Proposed Priority

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority for a Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research Project (DRRP) to serve as the Center on the Effective 
Delivery of Rehabilitation Technology

[[Page 31082]]

by State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies to Improve Employment 
Outcomes (Center). The Center must conduct research to identify the 
policies, procedures, and practices that result in the effective 
delivery of rehabilitation technology (RT), as defined in 34 CFR 
361.5(b)(45), by employment and training programs to assist individuals 
with disabilities to achieve employment outcomes, as defined in 34 CFR 
361.5(b)(16). Under this priority, the Center must be designed to 
contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) New knowledge regarding models of effective RT service 
delivery. The Center must contribute to this outcome by identifying 
existing employment and training programs, including programs 
administered by State VR agencies, that effectively deliver RT services 
to assist individuals with disabilities achieve employment outcomes. 
Applicants must describe in their applications the methods and criteria 
they will use to identify and select the model employment and training 
programs. NIDRR will review and approve the final selection of the 
employment and training programs. The Center must work with the 
selected programs to identify, describe, and document the policies, 
procedures, and practices that result in effective RT service delivery.
    (b) New knowledge of the systemic supports necessary for the 
effective delivery of RT services. The Center must contribute to this 
outcome by conducting research to identify the policies and practices 
of employment and training programs, including but not limited to those 
operated by State VR agencies, that support the effective use of RT to 
help individuals with disabilities achieve and maintain employment 
outcomes. The Center's work in this area must be designed to result in 
knowledge that assists employment and training programs to--
     Identify and assess the quality and effectiveness of their 
policies and practices related to the delivery of RT services;
     Change existing policies or develop new policies that are 
specifically designed to improve the delivery of RT services;
     Implement effective strategies to improve practices to 
support the delivery of RT services; and
     Develop and implement methodologies to collect data on the 
impact of RT services on employment outcomes.
    (c) Enhanced knowledge of effective RT service delivery among 
administrators of State VR agencies and other employment and training 
programs for individuals with disabilities. The Center must contribute 
to this outcome by using the knowledge gained from the activities 
described in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this priority to develop 
exemplars, tools, and guidance that State VR agencies can use to 
implement changes to existing policies or develop new policies and 
practices within their unique contexts. The Center must disseminate 
these materials to State VR agencies and other employment and training 
programs for individuals with disabilities.
    In addition, the Center must--
     In consultation with its NIDRR Project Officer, coordinate 
the Center's dissemination and outreach efforts with relevant training 
and technical assistance centers funded by OSERS. These training and 
technical assistance centers include the Research and Technical 
Assistance Center on Vocational Rehabilitation Program Management that 
NIDRR intends to fund in FY 2008; the 10 regionally based Technical 
Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) projects that RSA intends to 
fund in FY 2008 under title III of the Act; the IL-Net Training and 
Technical Assistance projects for centers for independent living and 
statewide independent living councils funded by RSA under title VII of 
the Act; the national VR TA center that RSA intends to fund in FY 2008 
under section 12 of the Act; NIDRR's Rehabilitation Research and 
Training Centers (RRTCs) focused on employment; the NIDRR network of 
Knowledge Translation grantees; the Department's Office of Special 
Education Programs' Technical Assistance and Dissemination Network and 
Technical Assistance Communities of Practice; the Department's Office 
of Vocational and Adult Education's National Research Center for Career 
and Technical Education; and programs sponsored through the U.S. 
Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy. The 
Center must coordinate with these entities, as appropriate, to 
disseminate the exemplars, tools, guidance, and knowledge developed 
through activities conducted under paragraphs (a), (b), and (c) of this 
priority to State VR agencies, employers, individuals with 
disabilities, and other entities that serve or employ individuals with 
disabilities;
     Share the exemplars, tools, guidance, and knowledge 
developed through activities conducted under paragraphs (a), (b), and 
(c) of this priority with appropriate RSA and NIDRR research and 
dissemination centers, including the National Center for the 
Dissemination of Disability Research, the Research Utilization Support 
and Help Project, and the Center for International Rehabilitation 
Research Information and Exchange; and
     Establish an advisory committee comprised of individuals 
who are knowledgeable about RT including researchers, State VR agency 
representatives, VR providers, employers, transition planners, 
secondary and postsecondary educators, individuals with disabilities, 
and parents of individuals with disabilities. This advisory committee 
must be designed to provide guidance to the Center on its research and 
TA activities.
     Each year after year one of the project period, plan to 
present findings at a three-day national conference of State VR 
administrators to be held in Washington, DC.

Executive Order 12866

    This NPP 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 NPP 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 NPP, we have determined that the benefits of 
the proposed priorities justify the costs.

Summary of Potential 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. These proposed 
priorities will generate new knowledge and technologies through 
research, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical 
assistance projects.
    Another benefit of these proposed priorities is that the 
establishment of new DRRPs will support the President's NFI and will 
improve the lives of individuals with disabilities. The new DRRPs will 
generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will 
improve the options for individuals with disabilities to perform 
regular activities in the community.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is not subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79.

[[Page 31083]]

    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

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: 
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.
    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://www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Numbers 84.133A Disability 
Rehabilitation Research Projects)

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).

    Dated: May 27, 2008.
William W. Knudsen,
Deputy Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
 [FR Doc. E8-12121 Filed 5-29-08; 8:45 am]

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