RD498 - Report of the Workgroup to Assess Combining the Extended Employment Services (EES) and Long-Term Employment Support Services (LTESS) Programs and Associated Funding – November 1, 2018

Executive Summary:

Item 329 P. of Chapter 2, 2018 Special Session I Acts of Assembly (2018 Appropriation Act), the biennial Budget Bill, as passed by the General Assembly and signed by Governor Northam, required the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) to convene a workgroup of relevant stakeholders to assess combining the Extended Employment Services (EES) and Long Term Employment Support Services (LTESS) programs.

DARS convened the workgroup consisting of Employment Service Organization (ESO) representatives along with staff from the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees and the Department of Planning and Budget. The workgroup met three times during August and September. The opportunity for public comment was provided at the beginning and end of each meeting. ln addition, written public input was solicited on potential options and recommendations of the workgroup.

Over the course of the three meetings, DARS provided information regarding the LTESS and EES programs, including historical and background information as well as the current status of the programs. To address questions from the workgroup, DARS provided additional information regarding federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) program requirements and how they compare to state requirements for LTESS and EES. The workgroup spent time discussing the information DARS presented.

After robust discussion, questions, and public input, the LTESS and EES Workgroup respectfully provides the following recommendations to the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees:

Recommendation 1: Retain the current LTESS and EES program and fund structures contained in the Code of Virginia § 51.5-169.1 and budget language, in order to more clearly assess the impact of statutory and funding allocation changes made to the programs, effective July 1, 2018.

Recommendation 2: Request that the Employment Services Organization Steering Committee (ESOSC) examine the LTESS and EES programs and funding requirements and make recommendations to the Governor and the Chairmen of the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees by October 1, 2020. This timeframe will allow for a review of funding allocation changes implemented in fiscal year 2019. In their review, the ESOSC should at a minimum consider:

a. Program definitions;
b. Data collection and missing data needs;
c. Program parameters and options; and
d. The impact of federal monitoring.