Florida Division of Blind Services logo




Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort
100 North Atlantic Avenue
Daytona Beach, FL 32118

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Meeting called to order at 8:45 AM with the pledge of allegiance following roll call.

Council Members Present:  (14)

Bruce Miles, Dan O’Connor, Robert Kelly, Donté Mickens, Sandra Martin, Patricia Lipovsky Sheryl Brown, Leanne Grillot, Lenora Marten, Sylvia Stinson-Perez, Jesus Garcia, Ben Grzesik, Vicky Magliocchino and Robert Doyle, Director. 

Council Members Present via Teleconference: (2) Dwight Sayer, Christopher White

Council Members Absent: (2) Joe Minichiello, Gloria Mills  

Council Staff: (1) Alise Fields

DBS Staff Present: Lynn Ritter, Tom Austin, Sandra Brown, Nancy Brown, Bryan Michaels, Juan Carlos Diaz, Michelle Levy, Tracey Bradley, April Ogden, Ana Saint-Fort, Jim Woolyhand, Phyllis Heath, Janet Alterman, Margaret McCloskey, Bertha Hyche, Michelle Sampson.

Attendees: (2)

Paul Edwards, Becki Forsell (FRC)

A motion to adopt the agenda was made.

A motion to make an amendment to change the agenda for October 24 to adopt April minutes should be changed to say adopt July minutes was made and seconded. Motion passed.

A motion to adopt the agenda with the amendment was made and seconded. Motion passed.

Director’s Report

Robert Doyle presented the following:           

  • DBS General Update
  • DBS Administrative Updates
    • Tom Austin is the incumbent Chief of Client Services
      • Tom Austin’s professional background includes:
      • Fourteen years of professional experience in the Deaf-Blind community to include: Direct Service to upper level management.
      • St. Petersburg College as the Academic Advisor.
      • Director of two residential programs; Deaf Behavioral Academics and Deaf Autistic Academic.
      • Division Director of Adult Services for Deaf and Hard of Hearing in New England. This role was instrumental for securing funding for SSPs and training resources.
    • DBS District Administrators in conjunction with the FRCB are looking to coordinate both administrative staff trainings along with the FRCB meetings for an opportunity for interaction with the Council, during the Director’s Report and VR outcomes and goals.   
    • Michelle Sampson is the incumbent Government Operations Consultant previously occupied by Gayle Newton, providing support for Tom Austin and Client Services.
    • Elizabeth Miles is the incumbent Contract Manager previously occupied by Donna Waller.
    • DBS has developed a position description for a dedicated staff person in Transition Services to aid in improving transition outcomes.
    • DBS will be utilizing one of the contracted positions through MIS to assist with analyzing data that comes through the agency for database decision making.
    • DBS has put together statutory regulated contingency cuts primarily to target federal rehabilitation trust funds to limit the impact to general revenue. The department requires that the agency make cuts to the general revenue.
      • Proposed cuts are $321,000.
      • Cuts will affect the IT departments, the Rehabilitation Center, the Talking Books Library, and other various areas.   
  • Employment Outcomes Goals
    • DBS met SFY and FFY outcomes goals.
    • Social Security
    • DBS has set a goal to increase funds through social security reimbursements.
      • Michelle Sampson is the DBS training and technical contact on further information regarding social security and the standards on acquiring additional funds as they relate to vocational rehabilitation services.
  • Development of the Return on Investment Model
    • Measuring funds that are spent on rehabilitation services.
    • Calculating the model differentiates by state.
    • Nationally, there were attempts to develop a single model to apply to all states.
    • From the agency level, the ROI has been used to calculate what the agency’s ROI is.
    • The agency along with the NCSAB has voiced concerns with the single model to the RSA.
      • Concerns are with the nature of the model as it relates to rehabilitating persons with visual disabilities.
  • Gifts and Donations
    • Organizations that were identified to receive funding from the Grants and Applications Program have not yet received funding.
      • DBS has proposed solutions to help with the disbursements.
      • This process is regimented and DBS is expecting a pattern for future cycles.
      • DBS is working to identify employers and clients for the video shoot using funds donated by the DSO.
        • The target for distribution is after the New Year of 2015, primarily for cost effectiveness and social awareness.
  • Legislation Updates
  • Legislative Agenda
    • Currently the department has elected to hold on submitting any legislative initiatives until after the election cycle.
  • Contracts
  • DBS has identified internal and external communication barriers affecting deliverables.
  • WIOA provisions related to the Rehabilitation Act took effect, when the bill was signed by the President.
    • A major challenge is that States do not have federal regulations in place to assist with the implementation of these provisions. Draft regulations are expected to be released in January 2015.    
  • DBS has new VR and Transition contracts currently in place.
    • DBS has opted not to combine the contracts this cycle.
    • There have been substantive changes in the contracts where there is a higher emphasis on the year-round activities and expectations for students to include:
      • A minimum of two work type experiences.
      • More dialogue between CRPs and District Offices about planned services.
      • More dialogue before cases are closed.
      • Developing plans to ensure that students are involved in year-round activities.
      • Incorporating in the transition contract, concepts that are in WIOA about pre-employment transition services.
      • Incorporating additional consumer focus language about services being provided that is best suited for the consumer.
      • Adding language to the contracts that allow for catch up in the referrals.
  • Outreach
    • DBS has asked that the providers develop an outreach plan to be conscientious in identifying clients.
    • DBS is sharing our processes in efforts to collaborate to better serve.
  • Training
    • Mr. Doyle has asked that Tom Austin and Elizabeth Miles put together a training to identify each role of the contractual process as it relates to service delivery.
    • DBS is also implementing customer service training for the administrative staff.
  • Tour of District Offices and CRPs
    • Visited and toured district offices. (All offices have now been visited once, with the exception of Jacksonville and Panama City). The tour was to meet with field staff and providers.
      • Tour was to discuss challenges and barriers in the community.
    • Fall Training scheduled for early November in Miami, FL
    • District Administrators and Supervisors will be in attendance.
    • WIOA is on the agenda and discussions on provisions of the act.


  • Bruce Miles asks if Director Doyle can elaborate on the expiration of terms and legalities.
    • Mr. Doyle responds that DBS has not received any new appointments and that FRCB staff is regularly following up with the Governor’s Appointment Office.
      • Mr. Doyle has inquired about carrying out terms past expiration dates if there have not been any appointments.
        • Legal Counsel has advised that the Act does not explicitly stipulate that members can continue in the position until a new appointment is made.
  • Bruce Miles asks if there is any language in WIOA that explains appointments more in detail as they relate to expired terms and continuance of a term if no appointments have been made.
    • Mr. Doyle states that he does not recall if this language is in WIOA.
  • Paul Edwards asks what the status is on the Rehabilitation Engineering Contract.
    • Mr. Doyle responds that the contract is still in the ITN stage and that the process is moving.
  • Paul Edwards asks if there can be any indication of the status.
    • Mr. Doyle responds that rehab engineering services are still being provided.
    • Mr. Doyle also indicated that there have been reported challenges with payments
      • DBS has tasked the Fiscal Unit with being more efficient in the processing of payments.
      • DBS has provided some support from other administrative staff to aid in moving payments forward.
      • The process of the ITN is moving forward.
  • Paul Edwards asks if there is an estimate on when the contract will move beyond the ITN stage.
    • Mr. Doyle responds that at this time there is not any information on when the contract will move beyond the ITN stage.
  • Sylvia Perez asks what the method is when the contract process is not working between the parties, e.g., if a client is transferring from one program to another, what should the entities do?
    • Mr. Doyle responds that relating to the transfer of programs, a client would be moved and the difference would be billed and case notes should be updated.
      • As challenges are identified through the new provisions DBS will address them as amendments if necessary.
      • A tier system has been put in place to help with future employment.
  • Sheryl Brown followed up to Sylvia Perez’s question and asked if a student goes from VR to IL are they considered a client.
    • Mr. Doyle responds that in this situation, the intent is to close the VR program services and transfer the client’s case to begin receiving IL services. For However, as per provisions in the contract, the provider will not “bill” DBS for that client’s transfer until the beginning of the next IL contract period and only if the client receives services in the next IL contract period as a carryover client.
  • Sheryl Brown comments that if the student cannot be billed then data cannot be entered.
    • Mr. Doyle responds that data can be entered in to the system.

Employer Recognition

Jim Woolyhand, DA recognized The Center for the Visually Impaired as the recipient of the Employer’s Award. The Center for the Visually Impaired provides training for District 5 clients.

A group photo was taken of Bruce Miles, Robert Doyle, Jim Woolyhand, and Ronee Silverma

VR Goals Update

Wayne Jennings provided the Council with his report and data as part of the meeting materials. Lynn Ritter provided the Council with an overview of the report and data compiled prior to the meeting.  

  • Homemaker Status Closures
    • Currently there are not any Homemaker Status Closures.
  • Rehab Rates
    • DBS is implementing processes on redefining the rehab rate as it relates to planned services.
    • Currently the technical definition of the rehab rate is sole number of individuals who have received planned services that were left out of a successful closure than those who were left out of an unsuccessful closure.
    • The national rehab rate can fluctuate from time to time. The target rate for our division is 70% or greater.
    • RSA sets the rehab rate.  


  • Bruce Miles commented that the reports that are to be presented are expected to be provided to the council at least seven days before the quarterly meetings. Members of the Council go through the reports thoroughly and require enough time for review.
  • Robert Kelly asks in regards to the unsuccessful closures if the individuals are closed after determined eligible not after completing the application.
    • Lynn Ritter responds that is correct.

FILC Meeting Report

Patricia Lipovsky provided the following information:

  • FILC is no longer a part of the RSA
    • FILC can accept donations and do fundraising.
  • FILC hosted a successful poker run as a fundraiser.

Jesus Garcia provided the following information:

  • The new rules are being worked on and FILC will have more control over the Center for Independent Living.
  • Expectations are good leading into the New Year (2015).
  • Next FILC meeting is scheduled for November 2014, in Ft. Lauderdale.


  • Paul Edwards asked in regards to FILC no longer being under the RSA does it continue to be appropriate for a relationship to be maintained between the FRCB and FILC.
    • Jesus Garcia responds that he believes that a full door of communication is appropriate between the FRCB and FILC.

Morning Break

WIOA Update

Ben Grzesik reported the following:

  • Processes
    • Legislature recently made some changes to the law.
      • It is now known as Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
      • WIOA was originally adopted into law in 1998.
      • Once the law goes into effect, it will fall under the U.S. Department of Labor.
      • Some states adopted portions of WIOA into the state’s law; others may follow suit.
      • Funds are earmarked by the federal government.
      • The structure used is now Career Source and no longer Workforce Florida Inc.
      • Early implementation must take place by July 2015.
      • The new law requires a unified plan amongst agencies named in the law.
      • Performance Standards are set by the federal government.
      • U.S. Department of Labor has approached Florida to be a part of early implementation.
        • Discussions are in place regarding this process.
        • Rules regarding early implementation are expected in January 2015.
      • Regional Boards are chosen by the local governments.
        • Regional Boards have their own memorandum of understanding.
        • Follows guidelines under state entities.

Robert Doyle reported the following:

  • Overview of WIOA
    • WIOA is about communication, collaboration and coordination of activities under a unified workforce development system.
    • Four core programs that work in alignment under WIOA.
      • Workforce Investment Board
      • Adult Career Education
      • Wagner Peyser Act
      • Vocational Rehabilitation
    • WIOA requires the four core programs and members to work together to develop a unified workforce plan.
    • Approval of the plan will come from the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Labor and Department of Education.
    • January 18, 2015 draft rules are due for public input.
    • By January 2016, final rules must be published.
    • March 3, 2016 levels for new performance indicators have to be negotiated.
    • June 30, 2016 performance indicators related to the effectiveness of servicing employers are due.
    • July 22, 2016 provisions related to sub minimum wages fall under the rehab act portion of WIOA
      • Entities cannot employ a person with a disability at wages less than the federal wage unless the individual first receives available pre-employment transition services, applied for VR services and if eligible made a serious attempt at competitive integrated employment and has received counseling and information and referral about alternatives to sub minimum wage.
      • Persons with disabilities that are currently employed at sub minimum wage have to be provided with ongoing career counseling, information on referral and notification of training opportunities in the individual’s geographical area in order to promote an opportunity to move individuals to competitive integrated employment that is more appropriate. 
    • There are provisions through for employment opportunities through the supported employment program.
    • Fifteen percent of funds have to be reserved for pre-employment transition services.
    • Unified State Plans are due by March 3, 2016.
      • Plans are four year plans.
      • Goal is to prepare and educate a skilled workforce.  
      • Plans will include economic analysis, strategic planning, emerging and in demand industry sectors.
      • Plans will also include a strategy on how agencies will align core programs and state resources to meet strategic visions and goals.
      • Plans should include how each lead agency will implement the strategy.
      • Special provisions that the VR programs must sign off on the state plan to ensure of an inclusion of persons with disabilities.
      • State plan must include a strategy on community college engagement as well as technical education schools as partners in the workforce development system.
      • State plan must describe how each core program will be assessed each year.
        • Assessments will be on the quality, effectiveness and improvement of programs based on the state performance and accountability measures.
      • How each core program will align and integrate into the workforce education data on the four programs. Data units need to be in alignment.
      • State plan must describe how each agency will use the workforce development system to access the progress of participants that are exiting from the core program and entering, completing or remaining in education an employment.
      • Plans are subject to approval through the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Labor.
      • Modifications can be made in the first two year period of any of the four year plans.
      • Law allows the U.S. Department of Education and Department of Labor to establish criteria for states to become early implementers. 
      • Combined state plans are also possible.
        • Programs that have connections with employment.
        • Programs can include career education, programs authorized through the social security act, food and nutrition, TANF.
        • Programs can include collaborations through a Trade Act Plan, unemployment compensation programs, Older Americans Act, employment and training and programs under the Second Chance Act. 
      • State Boards are allowed to negotiate on accountability measures.
      • Consumer choice provisions are added to the act and require coordination through education programs.
      • Coordination and cooperation are required through the boards and the VR programs.      
      • It is expected that States may have the opportunity to revisit state structure.
    • Early Implementation
      • Discussions on whether to start early implementation with the Department Economic Opportunity or with the State have begun on whether Florida should be an early implementer of WIOA.
      • Interests have been expressed on the option of having Florida as an early implementer.
      • Concerns have also been expressed because a lot needs to be addressed by rule.
      • WIOA provides for a gradual transfer of funds from VR to the broader workforce system.
      • Local boards also develop and submit a plan to the governor which is a comprehensive local four year plan that has to be consistent with the state plan.
        • It establishes common accountability measures across the four programs.
        • Current RSA standards and indicators are no longer expected to be enforced and will not be in the common system of standards and indicators of the workforce system.  
          • Primary indicators are now doing the following:
            • Measuring the percentage of participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exiting the program.
            • Measuring the percentage of the participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the fourth quarter after exiting the program.
            • Measures the number of program participants who are in unsubsidized employment during the second quarter after exiting the program.
            • Measures the percentage of program participants who obtain a recognized post-secondary credential or secondary school diploma or its equivalent within one year of exiting the program.
            • Measures the percentage of program participants who during the course of a year that are in an education program that leads to a recognized post-secondary credential or employment and who are achieving measurable skills toward the credential or employment.
            • Measuring indicators of the effectiveness in serving employers.
      • States can also establish secondary indicators to measure success.
      • There are primary indicators that outline performance of youth programs.
      • There will be changes with programming as it relates to management information systems.
      • WIOA is an opportunity, but it does present challenges and barriers as well. A major goal is that there is a more unified (coordinated) system.


  • Sylvia Perez comments that many students that are in the secondary programs are not receiving high school diplomas. Sylvia has concerns with how the new legislation will impact students.
    • Robert Doyle responds that this is a valid point and that the new legislation puts these concerns in a common system.  
    • Robert Doyle says that it is important to have communication about the nature of what VR does and how it is different further to discuss different aspects.
  • Sheryl Brown asks what the definition of youth age wise is.
    • Youth with disabilities are generally defined as not younger than 14 and not older than 24 years of age.
  • Bruce Miles asks what the difference is in age of students with disabilities to youth.
    • Robert Doyle responds that there is a difference.
    • Youth with disabilities are individuals that are not younger than fourteen years of age and who is not over twenty four years of age.
    • A student with a disability is defined by each state. (Note: As defined by the state, not less than the age of eligibility for transition services (age 14 in FL; unless the state uses a younger age for pre-employment transition services) and not older than 21 unless there is a different definition in the state. Specific language can be found in WIOA).
  • Sheryl Brown comments that the FRCB should consider having a discussion at the next quarterly meeting about special diplomas.
  • Becki Forsell asks how the transition will affect seniors or persons needing life change.
    • Robert Doyle responds that the administration will continue to administer until the transition and that there have not been substantive changes to independent living. There may be some impacts to funding however.
  • Bruce Miles comments that there have been some questions about the combining of the agencies and wants to know the level of concerns of the Director of DBS and what can the FRCB do to help.
    •  Robert Doyle responds that there is a group of individuals who are looking closely at systems. There are some interests in looking at cross jurisdictional efforts. It is important that funds are not lost to broader programs.
  • Robert Kelly comments that it is time for advocates to be more alert and that the collaborative system performs in a manner that is relatively uncomplicated but there are differences in rehabilitation and the department of labor. More practically, the key to rehabilitation requires direct access to employers.
  • Paul Edwards thinks that Robert Kelly’s comments are fair. There has been a push and pull between workforce programs and VR. Individual workforce programs are not designed for the older and disabled workforce. There should be a stronger and more centralized system for specialized services. The difficulty is that VR has not been very successful so Washington has difficulty with supporting VR.
  • Jesus Garcia comments that the numbers do not change regardless of the economic climates.
    • DBS Counselors do not have the opportunity to do their main goal, to counsel.
  • Sheryl Brown comments that there is always a VR counselor and a lack of DBS counselors. Sheryl hopes that there is some inclusion of DBS in the strategic plan.
    • Robert Doyle responded that there have been some discussions about the inclusion of DBS in the strategic planning.
  • Becki Forsell suggested that a letter should be sent to SEALS.

Lunch Break

Meeting resumed at 2:15 PM

Center for the Visually Impaired

Ronee Silverman, President/CEO of the Center for the Visually Impaired provided the Council with a copy of her report.

  • History
    • The Center for the Visually Impaired began serving blind and visually impaired seniors in 1988 in Daytona Beach and on the Blind Services Campus in 1990.
    • The Center for the Visually Impaired serves youth in our Transition Program, Vocational clients with a variety of services, and children with a new program just started this year called the STEPS program.
    • CVI provides services to the senior population through its Independent Living Program, Vocational Rehabilitation client’s trough orientation & mobility services, assistive technology services, job readiness training and job placement and youth transition services as well as a newly implemented children’s program.
  • Staff:
    • The center has a total of 21 staff consisting of the following: 
      • 1 President/O&M
      • 1 Program Manager
      • 2 Intake professionals
      • 1 Receptionist
      • 1 Outreach Coordinator
      • 2 CRC’s
      • 3 IL instructors (1 is also AT)
      • 4 (5) AT instructors
      • 3 (4) O&M Specialists (1 is TVI)
      • 1 TVI
      • 2 Drivers

Approximately 25% of the staff are blind or visually impaired.

  • Accreditation:
    • Awarded 5 year NAC accreditation in 2010
  • Services:
    • Over the course of the year, provided the following services:
      • Independent Living : 237 clients
      • IL-AP: 30 clients
      • Vocational Rehabilitation: 105 with (4,846) hours of service
      • Transition: 30 clients 
    • Children’s Services:
      • The primary goal of STEPS for Blind Children is to provide 12 elementary school children with independent living skills, self-esteem, recreational activities, comprehensive computer and assistive technology studies while reinforcing math, literacy and other educational skills.
      • Specific Program goals include:
        • Understand basic work-related goals that everyone should try to achieve. (School is also considered work for this population).
        • Establish personal and general school/work-related goals
        • Become familiar with job and career possibilities
        • Understand the impact of employment on personal development and Independence
        • Improvement in their use of Braille and/or technology aides which will in turn positively affect their performance in school now and in the future,
        • Improved rapport with their peer group due to increased shared experiences,
        • Improved independent living skills 
        • An increased positive outlook and self-esteem
    • Vocational Rehabilitation Programs:
      • Transition: CVI’s Transition Program is specifically designed for visually impaired and blind teenagers.
      • The overall goal of this year-round program is to transition teenagers from childhood dependence on parents, to maximized independence as contributing young adult members of society.  
      • The Transition Program includes instruction, support and experiences in the following areas:
        • Communication Skills
        • Orientation and Mobility
        • Self-advocacy
        • Social Interaction Skills
        • Independent Living Skills
        • Recreation and Leisure Skills
        • Career Education
        • Use of Assistive Technology
        • Visual Efficiency Skills and Related Services
      • In addition, Vocational opportunities and Work Experiences are provided in the summer portion of the program. They include:
        • Career Exploration
        • Job Shadowing
        • Internships
        • Short-term Employment
        • Apprenticeships
        • Fellowships
    • Highlights of the 2013-2014 service year include:
      • Annual Thanksgiving Feast (students prepared meal from scratch for 30 people)
      • First ever Family Volunteer Appreciation Banquet hosted by the students
      • An overnight trip to Wonderworks in Orlando to learn about science
      • 4 Scavenger Hunts during the year to teach the students O&M in a real world setting
      • Reality TV Show Themed 5 Week Summer Program
      • Hosted Intensive 5 day/night Transition Summit with Programs from Jacksonville and Orlando
      • Summer Work Experiences with
      • 6 Graduates in 2014 (4 went on to college, 1 to employment, 1 to finish HS diploma)
    • VR: Through a variety of services clients interested in working are assisted in the skills that are essential for obtaining and maintaining employment. These skills include:
      • Job Readiness Training
      • Job Placement
      • Assistive Technology/Workplace Accommodation Training
      • Orientation and Mobility Training
      • Daily Living Skills Training
      • Adjustment to Blindness Counseling

Comments/ Questions

  • Manny Hernandez a graduate of the Transition Program commented that he entered the program one year ago. Manny has learned a lot while in the program. The program has helped Manny to communicate more effectively and be a better person. Manny says that the little things count when helping people such as himself. Manny thanks the FRCB for what they have contributed to CVI.
    • Ronee Silverman responds that Manny just started his first year of college at the Daytona State College. Manny is studying Business Administration and is doing very well.
  • Mike Watson, ILCP Counselor for District 5, helped to start the STEPS program. Mike commented that he has been involved with identifying problems that some clients were having with regards to independent living especially with technology. In the process of discussing the issues, young people did well academically but did not do well in college because they did not have the IL skills needed to survive or communicate socially with sighted individuals. The program continues to grow every year and has been successful. Focus points are independent living and technology.
    • Ronee Silverman responded that CVI works very closely with the DBS and Mike has been wonderful with working with the children enrolled in the program.
  • Bruce Miles asks how many children were in the 5 week program.
    • Mike Watson responds that there were twelve with eight in the class.  
  • Bruce Miles asks that the transition summit that was held what was the approximate costs.
    • Ronee Silverman says that she currently does not have the exact figures that include food, transportation and lodging but will be happy to share that information via email after the meeting.
  • Paul Edwards comments that the FRCB needs to know that since December of 2013, Ronee has been President of FAASB and has demonstrated that FAASB knows how to acquire and maintain leaders and thanks Ronee for a great job.
  • Ronee comments that there was a Dinning in the Dark event held the night before in the hotel hosted by FAASB. The event was very successful; there were 250 attendees with 27 officers volunteering from local police departments.
  • Becki Forsell asks if the camp has considered moving to the Rotary Camp to build a great camp. This may help with costs.
    • Ronee Silverman responds that she will follow up on that suggestion with Becki.
  • Sheryl Brown comments that the Children’s Council from the Tampa DBS has been in discussion about Camps also.
  • Robert Doyle comments that the partnership and relationship of the district office and CVI is apparent and strong. Robert Doyle also recognizes Manny Hernandez for a job well done.
  • Donte Mickens asks what is CVI’s approach with guiding parents on the best options in regards to the Florida School for the Blind.
    • Ronee Silverman responds that the dialogue is very open when talking to the parents/caregivers and they give as much information and options as possible.  

District Administrator’s Report

Jim Woolyhand, DA provided the Council with the following report: Attached
District 5 is comprised of a main office in Daytona and a satellite office in Brevard County. The District serves 4 counties: Volusia, Flagler, Putnam and Brevard Counties.

  • Staffing
    • Between the two offices, the district staffs a total of 14 full time individuals, and one part time OPS reader/driver.
    • The district employs 5 VR counselors, 1 IL/CP counselor,  2 Rehab Techs – (intake), 1 Employment Placement specialist, 1 Sr. Word Processor,  1 Word processor – receptionist, 1 Staff Assistant, for Personnel, 1 VR supervisor,  myself,  and  a part time, reader/driver. 
  • Performance Goals
    • District 5 we serve about 615 individuals within our 4 county areas.    The approximate break down is, 25 in the Blind Babies Program, 65 in the Children’s Program, 165 in the Independent Living Adult Program, and 360 in the VR program.  In the VR program, 36 of the 360 are college students, 14 Supported Employment individuals (those who have a secondary disability) and 38 are Transition age high school individuals. 
    • For FY 2013-2014 district 5 exceeded its goal and reached 96 successful VR closures. The previous year was also exceeded, at 81 closures. 
    • The 96 closures consisted of 12 totally blind, 28 legally blind, 26 visually impaired, and 30 sight restoration cases.  Currently, since July 1st the district has closed 16 successful VR cases.  
  • Activities

The district participated in quarterly marketing and outreach campaigns to increase referrals as well as reach underserved populations in rural areas.  They focused on marketing to eye physicians, hospitals/clinics/medical centers, schools, churches, and other social/community programs.  District 7 has seen an increase in referrals in most of the counties. 

  • Community Rehabilitation Providers

The district collaborates with two CRP’s. 

    • The Center for the Visually Impaired and the Conklin Center. 
    • The Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) assists this District in providing instructional services for the Independent Living Adult Program, and Transition Services.
    • The Conklin Center provides services in Independent living training, job development and placement.


  • Victoria Magliocchino asks how many deaf/blind individuals are at the Conklin Center.
    • Jim Woolyhand responds that in district 5 there are 15-20 individuals but the Conklin Center serves statewide.
    • Robert Kelly responds that there are 12 individuals that are in the supported employment program.
  • Paul Edwards asks how many visually impaired or blind employees are employed.
    • Jim Woolyhand responds that there are 2 employees, the receptionist and a VR counselor.
  • Donte Mickens asks what are the challenges in the district specifically with regards to transportation.
    • Jim Woolyhand responds that the district office and the Conklin Center constantly make connections with other agencies and doctor’s offices but the challenges are mostly with staffing at the centers and doctor’s offices and education. Jim responds that there is a door to door service in Volusia County however Putnam and Flagler Counties transportation is limited.  
  • Donte Mickens asks how the reliability on the paratransit system is.  
    • Jim Woolyhand responds outside of race week the system is really reliable and works out the glitches around race week.
  • Victoria Magliocchino asks what the difference between the Rehab Center and the Conklin Center is.
    • Jim Woolyhand responds that both are residential facility however the Conklin Center works with individuals who have a diagnosed secondary disability. The rehab center once an individual has completed the program they return home under the guidance of a counselor.  
  • Becki Forsell asks if an individual who has completed the program progressively loses sight while working, will the rehab center retrain them.
    • Jim Woolyhand responds that the center will absolutely take them back to retrain them.
  • Becki Forsell asks transportation wise when an individual is looking for a job where transportation is limited or non-existing. Also, is the center working to enlist private drivers in Putnam County?
    • Jim Woolyhand responds that transportation is an immediate thought and in the rural areas it is a challenge.
  • Paul Edwards asks why does it seem that there are more VR clients in district 5 than any other district and does that pose a challenge?
    • Jim Woolyhand responds that this does not pose any unusual challenges. There are some districts that have similar numbers as district 5. Daytona is known so well for their services and clients seem to love it and stay in Daytona. VR clients vary in age in the VR program.

Robert Doyle presented Jim Woolyhand with a Recognition Award for Jack Giordano for achieving the highest number of successful client closures in the state of Florida in 2014.

Afternoon Break

Meeting resumed at 3:00 PM

Rehab Center Program Updates

Ed Hudson, Bureau Chief of the Rehabilitation Center in Daytona, reported the following:

  • Center Focus Points
    • More vocational training for clients.
    • Helping clients to select jobs/careers and goals.
    • Security on the campus.
    • Purchasing in My Florida Market Place
    • Developing employment skills training
      • New staff at the center
        • To foster relationships in the community.
      • More community outreach  
      • Food handling program
        • To obtain a safe workers certificate
      • Vocational class has been broken down into three categories.
        • Choosing
        • Getting
        • Keeping
  • Client Statistics
    • In 2013 the Rehab Center served 91 individuals.
    • Average length of stay is 16 weeks.
    • The highest district in sending referrals was District 3 in Jacksonville with 21 referrals and the lowest in sending referrals was District 1 in Pensacola with 1 referral. District 5 was the second highest in sending referrals with 20 referrals.
  • Staffing
    • Currently there are positions that are vacant.
      • Vocational Administrator
      • Maintenance Superintendent
      • Case Manager
  • Maintenance Program       
    • Operating efficiently
    • Maintains over 20-30 lofts
    • Developed maintenance manual
    • Health inspection was very complimentary
    • Did a complete makeover of the CVI
    • Adding a canopy over the sidewalk from the rehab center and the technology building.
    • There have not been any documented injuries to a client or staff member.

Comments/ Questions

  • Sylvia Perez asks how people obtain the certificates after completing the programs and why they do not go to the colleges instead.
    • Ed Hudson responds that the Center wants individuals to go to the colleges, however many individuals are more comfortable at the Rehab Center. The students will learn the course at the college and the Rehab Center will provide support.  

Lighthouse Works

Lee Nasehi, President/CEO of the Lighthouse Works reported the following:

  • Overview
  • Subsidiary Corporation of Lighthouse Central Florida.
  • Goal is to be the number one call center for publically funded agencies.
  • A new funding source to provide rehabilitation services to Florida.
  • Honored with an award for the ability one vendor of the year.
  • Staffing
    • Currently there are a number of vacant positions.
    • Lighthouse works has competitive jobs and pays market wages.
    • There are sighted and visually impaired individuals currently employed.
  • Contracts      
    • Contract center is a big operation.
      • Currently 20 people employed
      • Commercial contracts are totaling over 3 million dollars.
    • Currently the largest contract is with Community Health Care of Central Florida.
      • A healthcare center for the uninsured underinsured and insured.
      • Eleven clinics within the center.
      • Call center receives 65,000 calls a month for this contract.
      • Technology has been advanced for accessibility.
      • Provide quality assurance for Seminole County government.
      • Also working on obtaining contracts with Disney.
      • New facility has been built to hold 39 additional seats.
      • Also provides the opportunity for at home work.


  • Bruce Miles asked how long is the training before one would be qualified to work out of their home.
    • Lee Nasehi responded that training is very complex and depends on the individual; however two individuals took about 90 days.
  • Bruce Miles asks where training is provided.
    • Lee Nasehi responded that training can be completed at the Lighthouse.

FRC Update

Becki Forsell reported the following:

  • November 2014 Meeting
    • Leadership
      • Ann Robinson as the new Chairperson
      • Yolanda Herrara is the First Chair
      • Laurie Kavante is the Second Chair
    • Stephen Wyche Award
      • Awarded to Carol Gordon
        • From Central Florida.
        • A part of the Guardian Angels Medical Service Dogs.
        • Involved in outreach with regards to people with epilepsy.
      • Looking for a new nominee in 2015.  
    • Voting Resolution
      • FRC sent a voting resolution to the leaders in Florida and fully supports the FRCB voting resolution.
    • Public Forum
      • Ten attendees in attendance.
      • Personnel issues were addressed.
      • Assistive technology was addressed.
    • Overview of current performance measures was given by Alesia Mckinley

Meeting adjourned at 5:15 PM.