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05/03/2019

L&I Seeks Public Input on Proposed Changes to Pennsylvania’s Vocational Rehabilitation Services Plan

Harrisburg, PA – Department of Labor & Industry (L&I) Secretary Jerry Oleksiak today encouraged Pennsylvanians to provide comments on proposed changes to the state's vocational rehabilitation services plan. Pennsylvania expects less federal reallocation funds for the vocational rehabilitation program and must adjust the plan.

"Our primary goal throughout this process is to ensure that services continue to be provided to as many people with disabilities as possible across the commonwealth," said Secretary Oleksiak. "I urge interested Pennsylvanians to provide us with their feedback."

Due to the anticipated decline in federal reallocation funds, the independent Pennsylvania State Board of Vocational Rehabilitation recently voted unanimously to begin the process to close the Order of Selection, in essence creating a temporary waiting list for new OVR customers. Services would continue for current OVR customers with an Individualized Plan for Employment, as well as Pre-employment Transition Services for students with disabilities, as required by federal law.

The proposal is available in the Pennsylvania Bulletin. Comments will be accepted for 30 days, until 5:00 PM on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, and should be emailed to OVRFeedback@pa.gov, with "OOS closing all categories" in the subject line. Written comments may also be mailed to OVR Central Office, c/o Cindy Mundis, 1521 North 6th Street, Harrisburg, PA 17102.

Public meetings will be conducted in-person throughout the state in each OVR district office on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, from 3:00 PM to 4:30 PM and 5:00 PM to 6:30 PM. Individuals who are unable to attend in person can participate via phone. All meeting sites are accessible and interpreters for people who are deaf or hard of hearing will be present at each public meeting.

Following the public comment period, the U.S. Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) will review OVR's request to temporarily close the order of selection. If approved, the waiting list is expected to be implemented on July 1, 2019.

For more information, visit the OVR page on the Department of Labor & Industry's website.

MEDIA CONTACT: Penny Ickes, 717-787-7530 or dlipress@pa.gov                                                                    

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