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State Education Board Asks Whether Vocational Rehab Is Doing Its Job

The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation is a federal-state partnership program that helps people with disabilities find and keep jobs.
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
Florida Department of Education

The Florida office that helps people with disabilities find jobs dodged a de-funding bullet this past legislative session, but took a $10 million budget cut. Lawmakers are concerned the office isn't performing up to par, and now the State Board of Education is asking questions. In a budget workshop for the upcoming fiscal year, State Board member John Colon wants to know what the results of the program are.

“Do you have any data on measurable results? How many of the adults you are training have achieved either careers or gainful employment so they can move forward with their lives? That’s the goal isn’t it?"

The Department of Education says it has the figures.

Earlier this year,  Sen. Don Gaetz, R-Niceville, expressed similar concerns over whether Vocational rehab was appropriately serving its clients. Gaetz proposed privatizing vocational rehab if it didn't meet performance goals. A January report issued by the Florida Office of Program Policy and Analysis noted only 44 percent of vocational rehab participants were employed in 2013. 

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Lynn Hatter is a Florida A&M University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Lynn has served as reporter/producer for WFSU since 2007 with education and health care issues as her key coverage areas.  She is an award-winning member of the Capital Press Corps and has participated in the NPR Kaiser Health News Reporting Partnership and NPR Education Initiative. 

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