Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation Supported Employment Program (Follow-Up)

Issued Date
September 27, 2023
State Education Department


To determine the extent of implementation of the three recommendations included in our initial audit report, Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation Supported Employment Program (Report 2020-S-46).

About the Program

According to the 2022 American Community Survey (ACS), in New York State, there were estimated to be over 1 million non-institutionalized working-age adults (ages 18‒64) with a disability in the labor force. Further, ACS data shows that an estimated 25% of New Yorkers with disabilities are likely to live in poverty. Unemployment rates among New Yorkers with a disability were higher than for the general population over the past decade but decreased in 2019 just prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the unemployment rate for individuals with a disability remains high and continues to eclipse the unemployment rate of individuals without a disability, disrupting progress made leading up to the pandemic.

The State Education Department’s (Department) Adult Career and Continuing Education Services – Vocational Rehabilitation (ACCES-VR) program provides vocational rehabilitation services for and supports the employment goals of people with a disability. Its mission is to assist individuals with a disability to achieve and maintain employment and to support independent living through training, education, rehabilitation, and career development. ACCES-VR’s work begins with the presumption that all individuals with a disability can benefit from vocational rehabilitation services and should have opportunities to work in jobs integrated within their communities. As of June 2023, the Department maintains 15 ACCES-VR district offices with 218 full-time vocational rehabilitation counselors (counselors) and 96 vocational rehabilitation counselor assistants.

To help program participants achieve and maintain employment, counselors jointly develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) with each participant. The IPE is a written plan that identifies the employment goal for the participant, the services that will be provided to help achieve that goal, and how progress will be measured along the way. For new program participants, the Vocational Rehabilitation Policies and Procedures (Policy) require an eligibility determination to be made within 60 days of receipt of the participant’s application. Once an eligibility determination has been made, the Policy requires an IPE to be finalized for the participant within 90 days. For the federal fiscal year 2022, ACCES-VR reported that its Supported Employment Program arranged job placements for 5,830 people and had a total open caseload of 54,038 people.

The objective of our initial audit, issued on March 30, 2022, was to determine whether ACCES-VR Supported Employment Program achieved its intended objectives, namely, to provide vocational rehabilitation supported employment services for individuals with a disability. Overall, we found that the Department did not always meet the time frames for eligibility determinations or finalization and annual reviews of IPEs. Additionally, we found IPEs did not contain all the required information in sufficient detail, and the Department did not provide any documented evaluations to show the ACCES-VR program was being adequately monitored.

Key Findings

The Department has made progress in addressing the issues identified in our initial report. Of the initial report’s three recommendations, two were implemented and one was partially implemented.

Key Recommendation

Officials are given 30 days after the issuance of this report to provide information on any actions planned to address the unresolved issues discussed in this follow-up.

Heather Pratt

State Government Accountability Contact Information:
Audit Manager
: Heather Pratt
Phone: (518) 474-3271; Email: [email protected]
Address: Office of the State Comptroller; Division of State Government Accountability; 110 State Street, 11th Floor; Albany, NY 12236