FR Doc 2010-11716
[Federal Register: May 17, 2010 (Volume 75, Number 94)]
[Notices]
[Page 27544-27547]
From the Federal Register Online via GPO Access [wais.access.gpo.gov]
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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 proposed priority for a DRRP.

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SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and
Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority for the Disability and
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by
NIDRR. Specifically, this notice proposes a priority for a DRRP. 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: We must receive your comments on or before June 16, 2010.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this notice to Lynn Medley, U.S.
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Room 5140, Potomac
Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700.
    If you prefer to send your comments by e-mail, use the following
address: Lynn.Medley@ed.gov. You must include the term ``Proposed
Priority for a DRRP on KT for Employment Research Findings'' in the
subject line of your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Lynn Medley. 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 proposed 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.
    Invitation to Comment:
    We invite you to submit comments regarding this notice. To ensure
that your comments have maximum effect in developing the notice of
final priority, we urge you to identify clearly the specific 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 this proposed
priority. Please let us know of any further ways we could 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 notice in Room 5142, 550 12th Street, SW., PCP,
Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.,
Washington, DC, time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal
holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities in Reviewing the
Rulemaking Record: On request we will provide an appropriate
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    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.

DRRP 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

[[Page 27545]]

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.
    Proposed Priority:
    This notice contains one proposed priority.
    Center on Knowledge Translation (KT) for Employment Research
Findings (Center).
    Background:
    The employment rate for individuals with disabilities is
substantially lower than the rate for individuals without disabilities:
18.6 percent versus 63.3 percent, respectively, as of December 2009
(U.S. Department of Labor, 2009). This disparity in employment rates is
across all age groups and for both men and women (U.S. Department of
Labor, 2009).
    To improve the employment outcomes for individuals with
disabilities, employers, policy makers, vocational rehabilitation (VR)
practitioners, individuals with disabilities, and other stakeholders
need to make use of the best available research to inform practice and
policy. With the notable exception of a body of experimental research
that demonstrates the effectiveness of one model practice, the
Individual Placement and Support model of supported employment for
individuals with psychiatric disabilities (Bond, 2004; Loprest, 2007),
many findings from research related to improving the employment
outcomes of individuals with disabilities are preliminary in nature.
Findings from preliminary, non-experimental research can, however,
appropriately be used to guide further research, provide preliminary
knowledge about a problem in the field, or direct resources and
services to groups of individuals with the greatest needs.
    NIDRR has adopted the conceptual framework of KT to help guide its
effort to promote the effective use of research findings. KT in the
NIDRR context refers to a multidimensional, active process of ensuring
that new knowledge and products gained via research and development
reach practitioners, employers, policy makers, and individuals with
disabilities; are understood by these audiences; and are used to
improve the employment outcomes and participation of individuals with
disabilities in society. KT encompasses all steps from the creation of
new knowledge to the synthesis, dissemination, and implementation of
such knowledge (Canadian Institutes of Health Research, 2004), and is
built upon continuing interactions and partnerships within and between
different groups of knowledge creators and users. Knowledge synthesis
is an important step within the KT process because it provides an
understanding of a topic based on an integration of the relevant body
of knowledge rather than a single research study.
    Research findings related to improving employment outcomes of
individuals with disabilities have not been extensively and
systematically examined. Appraising and synthesizing this research can
inform practice by providing practitioners information that can
facilitate their use of currently available research findings and help
them distinguish between promising practices and proven interventions.
Effective research syntheses package information in ways that can be
understood and used appropriately by different audiences and end users,
and educate users about the strengths or limitations of specific
findings. The identification of the best available research will also
help highlight critical research gaps.
    While research investigating effective KT methods and strategies
has been conducted in other contexts such as public health and
healthcare (Fixsen, Naoom, Blase, Friedman, & Wallace, 2005; Metcalfe
et al., 2001; Milner, Estabrooks, & Humphrey, 2005; Peterson, Rogers,
Cunningham-Sabo, & Davis, 2007; Van Duyn et al., 2007), there has been
no previous research investigating effective approaches for identifying
and promoting the use of research related to employment of individuals
with disabilities. Determining which approaches and strategies are
effective will be useful in ensuring that employment-related knowledge
is incorporated into practice by individuals with disabilities, policy
makers, employers, and VR practitioners.

References:

Bond, G. (2004). Supported Employment: Evidence for an Evidence-
Based Practice. Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal, 27(4), 345-359.
Canadian Institutes of Health Research. (2004). Knowledge
translation strategy 2004-2009: Innovation in action. See 
http://www.cihr-irsc.gc.ca/e/26574.html.
Fixsen, D.L., Naoom, S.F., Blase, K.A., Friedman, R.M., & Wallace,
F. (2005). Implementation Research: A Synthesis of the Literature.
Tampa, FL: University of South Florida, Louis de la Parte Florida
Mental Health Institute, The National Implementation Research
Network (FMHI Publication 231).
Loprest, P. (2007). Strategic assessment of the state of the science
in research on employment for individuals with disabilities.
Washington, DC: The Urban Institute.
Metcalfe, C., Lewin, R., Wisher, S., Perry, S., Bannigan, K., &
Moffett, J.K. (2001). Barriers to implementing the evidence base in
four NHS therapies: dietitians, occupational therapists,
physiotherapists, and speech and language therapists. Physiotherapy,
87(8), 433-441.
Milner, F.M., Estabrooks, C.A., & Humphrey, C. (2005). Clinical
nurse educators as agents for change: Increasing research
utilization. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 42, 899-914.
Peterson, J.C., Rogers, E.M., Cunningham-Sabo, L., & Davis, S.M.
(2007). A framework for research utilization applied to seven case
studies. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 33 (1S), S21-S34.
U.S. Department of Labor. (2009). Labor force statistics from the
Current Population Survey: Employment status and disability status,
December 2009. See http://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsdisability_122009.htm.
Van Duyn, M.A.S., McCrae, T., Wingrove, B.K., Henderson, K.M., Boyd,
J.K., Kagawa-Singer, M., et al. (2007). Adapting evidence-based
strategies to increase physical activity among African Americans,
Hispanics, Hmong, and Native Hawaiians: A social marketing approach.
Preventing Chronic Diseases, 4(4). See 
http://www.cdc.gov/pcd/issues/2007/oct/pdf/07_0025.pdf.

    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 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 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

[[Page 27546]]

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 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
proposed 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
proposed 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 proposed 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 proposed
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 proposed 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 NIDRR-funded
grantees in the employment area to facilitate the implementation and
evaluation of these KT approaches and strategies.
    (2) Coordinating KT research and development activities with
existing NIDRR-funded KT and employment projects through consultation
with NIDRR project officers.
    (3) Using appropriate approaches and strategies established under
paragraph (b) of this proposed priority to disseminate the synthesized
knowledge established under paragraph (a) of this proposed 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)).
    Final priority: 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
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 regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this proposed 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 proposed regulatory action, we have determined
that the benefits of the proposed 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 proposed
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.

[[Page 27547]]

    Intergovernmental Review: This program is not subject to Executive
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79.
    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: May 12, 2010.
Alexa Posny,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
[FR Doc. 2010-11716 Filed 5-14-10; 8:45 am]
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