National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program-Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs); Funding Priority, 64078-64080 [E6-18192]

Download as PDF 64078 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 210 / Tuesday, October 31, 2006 / Notices DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research—Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program—Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs); Funding Priority Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of final priority. AGENCY: rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES3 SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces a final priority for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Specifically, this notice announces a priority for a DRRP on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): Transition Services that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals With Blindness or Other Visual Impairments. The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2007 and later years. We take this action to focus research attention on areas of national need. We intend this priority to improve rehabilitation services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Effective Date: This priority is effective November 30, 2006. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6030, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202–2700. Telephone: (202) 245–7462 or via Internet: donna.nangle@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1– 800–877–8339. Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program The purpose of the DRRP program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self- VerDate Aug<31>2005 20:29 Oct 30, 2006 Jkt 211001 sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. DRRPs carry out one or more of the following types of activities, as specified and defined in 34 CFR 350.13 through 350.19: Research, development, demonstration, training, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance. An applicant for assistance under this program must demonstrate in its application how it will address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 350.40(a)). The approaches an applicant may take to meet this requirement are found in 34 CFR 350.40(b). In addition, NIDRR intends to require all DRRP applicants to meet the requirements of the General Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Requirements priority that it published in a notice of final priorities in the Federal Register on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472). Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: http:// www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/resprogram.html#DRRP. We published a notice of proposed priorities (NPP) for NIDRR’s Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, including the DRRP program, in the Federal Register on June 7, 2006 (71 FR 32938). The NPP included a background statement that described our rationale for the priority proposed in that notice. There are no differences between the NPP and this notice of final priority (NFP). Analysis of Comments and Changes In response to our invitation in the NPP, five parties submitted comments on the proposed priority addressed in this NFP. An analysis of the comments follows. Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes, or suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed priority. Comment: Four commenters expressed concern that the duration and the level of funding for the proposed DRRP may not be adequate to address the research activities proposed under the priority. Discussion: Although the funding level and the budget period were not addressed in the NPP, and are not PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 subject to public comment, the Department is confident that the proposed funding level and budget period are reasonable. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter commended the U.S. Department of Education on its succinct synthesis of the problem, as well as its establishment of a priority for a DRRP that would research transition-age individuals with visual impairments. The commenter also suggested that the following additional issues should be considered for research and examination under the final priority: (1) The vital role of career education in the academic preparation of youths with visual disabilities; (2) The factors leading to disparities between postsecondary achievement and low employment outcomes of youth and young adults with blindness and other visual impairments; (3) The barriers to collaboration among service providers serving youth and young adults with blindness and other visual impairments and the impact of this disconnect on successful transition outcomes; (4) The factors contributing to successful adult outcomes, including orientation and mobility skills, socialization and independent living skills, and training in the use of materials in appropriate alternate media, such as Braille and new accessible information technologies; (5) The role of parents’ attitudes and involvement in the transition process; and (6) Job-seeking strategies and the development of competitive employment skills. Discussion: NIDRR agrees with the commenter that each of the above issues is relevant to the scope of work of the proposed DRRP. Nothing in the proposed priority would preclude an applicant from proposing research that examines any or all of the issues listed by the commenter. However, NIDRR does not believe that it is appropriate to require all applicants to focus their research on one or all of these issues. The peer reviewers will assess the merits of research proposals submitted. Changes: None. Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we designate the priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational. The effect of each type of priority follows: Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)). Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference priority, E:\FR\FM\31OCN3.SGM 31OCN3 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 210 / Tuesday, October 31, 2006 / Notices we give competitive preference to an application by either (1) awarding additional points, depending on how well or the extent to which the application meets the competitive preference priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the competitive preference priority over an application of comparable merit that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)). Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)). Note: This NFP is in concert with President George W. Bush’s New Freedom Initiative (NFI) and the Plan. The NFI can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http:// www.whitehouse.gov/infocus/newfreedom The Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on February 15, 2006 (71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at the following site: http://www.ed.gov/about/ offices/list/osers/nidrr/policy.htm rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES3 1. Through the implementation of the NFI and the Plan, NIDRR seeks to—(1) Improve the quality and utility of disability and rehabilitation research; (2) Foster an exchange of expertise, information, and training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge and understanding of the unique needs of traditionally underserved populations; (3) Determine best strategies and programs to improve rehabilitation outcomes for underserved populations; (4) Identify research gaps; (5) Identify mechanisms of integrating research and practice; and (6) Disseminate findings. Priority The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services establishes a priority for a DRRP on VR: Transition Services that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals With Blindness or Other Visual Impairments. Under this priority, the project must be designed to contribute to the following outcomes: (a) Increased knowledge about factors that influence vocational rehabilitation and/or transition outcomes and contribute to the acquisition of skills that correlate with sustained competitive employment and postsecondary success for transition-age individuals with blindness or other visual impairments. The grantee must: (1) Conduct a comprehensive literature review of research in the area of VR transition services that lead to successful employment outcomes for VerDate Aug<31>2005 20:29 Oct 30, 2006 Jkt 211001 transition-age individuals with blindness or other visual impairments; (2) conduct a preliminary analysis of the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) 911 Case Service Report data and other appropriate data sets to identify all pertinent information related to transition services for individuals with blindness or other visual impairments; and (3) examine factors that affect employment outcomes including the types of transition services provided by VR; the types of transition services provided by special education, if any; the age of the transitioning student at the time of first contact with VR; the amount of interaction the transitioning student has with VR prior to leaving school; the relationship the transitionage individual has with the VR counselor; the transition-age individual’s early employment history; the transition-age individual’s dependence on Social Security Administration (SSA) benefits; and the transition-age individual’s socioeconomic factors. In implementing item (3), the grantee must review VR case records from State VR agencies for the blind and State VR combined agencies, and interview consumers, rehabilitation professionals, teachers, postsecondary support service providers, SSA representatives, and other individuals involved in providing transition services. (b) Improved outcomes for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Through development, demonstration, and evaluation of intervention methods, the grantee must identify practices that support and lead to improved outcomes for transition-age individuals with blindness or other visual impairments, including outcomes in workforce participation, competitive employment, or other areas of postsecondary success. The grantee should include activities that facilitate development of skills that lead to employment (critical thinking and problem-solving skills, and personal qualities). Grantees must utilize a rigorous (e.g., experimental or quasiexperimental) design. (c) Dissemination of research findings to State VR agencies, education agencies, consumers, researchers, and other stakeholders. (d) Coordination with projects sponsored by NIDRR, RSA, and the Office of Special Education Programs to ensure that research conducted under this priority builds on rather than duplicates related research and to ensure effective dissemination strategies. At a minimum, the grantee must coordinate with the NIDRR Rehabilitation Research and Training PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 64079 Center (RRTC) on Measuring Rehabilitation Outcomes and current RSA-sponsored research on related topics (including the post-VR experiences study and the national study of transition policies and practices in State VR agencies, and other relevant projects). Executive Order 12866 This NFP has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed the potential costs and benefits of this regulatory action. The potential costs associated with this NFP are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering this program effectively and efficiently. In assessing the potential costs and benefits—both quantitative and qualitative—of this NFP, we have determined that the benefits of the final priority justify the costs. Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits The potential costs associated with this final priority are minimal while the benefits are significant. Grantees may incur some costs associated with completing the application process in terms of staff time, copying, and mailing or delivery. The use of e-Application technology reduces mailing and copying costs significantly. The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Programs have been well established over the years in that similar projects have been completed successfully. This final priority will generate new knowledge and technologies through research, development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance projects. Another benefit of this final priority is that the establishment of a new DRRP will support the President’s NFI and will improve the lives of persons with disabilities. The new DRRP will generate, disseminate, and promote the use of new information that will improve the options for individuals with disabilities. Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350. Electronic Access to This Document You may view this document, as well as all other Department of Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: www.ed.gov/news/ fedregister. E:\FR\FM\31OCN3.SGM 31OCN3 64080 Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 210 / Tuesday, October 31, 2006 / Notices To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1– 888–293–6498; or in the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512–1530. Note: The official version of this document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal Regulations is available on GPO Access at: www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/ index.html. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.133A, Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects) Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a). Dated: October 24, 2006. John H. Hager, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E6–18192 Filed 10–30–06; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P Notice inviting applications for new awards for fiscal year (FY) 2007. Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.133A–4. rwilkins on PROD1PC63 with NOTICES3 Estimated Number of Awards: 1. Note: The Department is not bound by any estimates in this notice. Project Period: Up to 36 months. Dates: Applications Available: October 31, 2006. Deadline for Transmittal of Applications: January 18, 2007. Date of Pre-Application Meeting: November 30, 2006. Eligible Applicants: States; public or private agencies, including for-profit agencies; public or private organizations, including for-profit organizations; institutions of higher education (IHEs); and Indian tribes and tribal organizations. Estimated Available Funds: $450,000. The Administration has requested $106,705,000 for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research program, of which we intend to use an estimated $450,000 for the Transition Services that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals With Jkt 211001 Purpose of Program: The purpose of the DRRP program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities to develop methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most severe disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. DRRPs carry out one or more of the following types of activities, as specified and defined in 34 CFR 350.13 through 350.19: research, development, demonstration, training, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance. An applicant for assistance under this program must demonstrate in its application how it will address, in whole or in part, the needs of individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 350.40(a)). The approaches an applicant may take to meet this requirement are found in 34 CFR 350.40(b). Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: http:// www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/resprogram.html#DRRP. Priorities: NIDRR has established two priorities for this competition. The General DRRP Requirements priority is from the notice of final priorities for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4703 Projects and Centers program, published in the Federal Register on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472). The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): Transition Services that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals with Blindness or Other Visual Impairments priority is from the notice of final priority for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers program, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. Absolute Priorities: For FY 2007, these priorities are absolute priorities. Under 34 CFR 75.105(c)(3) we consider only applications that meet these priorities. These priorities are: General Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Requirements and Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): Transition Services that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals with Blindness or Other Visual Impairments. Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a). I. Funding Opportunity Description Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services; Overview Information; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR)—Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs)— Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): Transition Services That Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals With Blindness or Other Visual Impairments 20:29 Oct 30, 2006 Note: The maximum amount includes direct and indirect costs. Full Text of Announcement DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION VerDate Aug<31>2005 Blindness or Other Visual Impairments competition. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program. Estimated Average Size of Awards: $450,000. Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget exceeding $450,000 for a single budget period of 12 months. The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services may change the maximum amount through a notice published in the Federal Register. Applicable Regulations: (a) The Education Department General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR) in 34 CFR parts 74, 75, 77, 80, 81, 82, 84, 85, 86, and 97. (b) The regulations for this program in 34 CFR part 350. (c) The notice of final priorities for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers program, published in the Federal Register on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472). (d) The notice of final priorities for the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers program, published elsewhere in this issue of the Federal Register. Note: The regulations in 34 CFR part 86 apply to IHEs only. II. Award Information Type of Award: Discretionary grants. Estimated Available Funds: $450,000. The Administration has requested $106,705,000 for the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research program, of which we intend to use an estimated $450,000 for the Transition Services that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals With Blindness or Other Visual Impairments competition. The actual level of funding, if any, depends on final congressional action. However, we are inviting applications to allow enough time to complete the grant process if Congress appropriates funds for this program. Estimated Average Size of Awards: $450,000. Maximum Award: We will reject any application that proposes a budget E:\FR\FM\31OCN3.SGM 31OCN3

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 71, Number 210 (Tuesday, October 31, 2006)]
[Notices]
[Pages 64078-64080]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E6-18192]



[[Page 64077]]

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Part VI





Department of Education





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National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program; 
Notices

Federal Register / Vol. 71, No. 210 / Tuesday, October 31, 2006 / 
Notices

[[Page 64078]]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research--
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program--
Disability Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRPs); Funding Priority

AGENCY: Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, 
Department of Education.

ACTION: Notice of final priority.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces a final priority for the Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program administered 
by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research 
(NIDRR). Specifically, this notice announces a priority for a DRRP on 
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR): Transition Services that Lead to 
Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age Individuals With 
Blindness or Other Visual Impairments. The Assistant Secretary may use 
this priority for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2007 and later 
years. We take this action to focus research attention on areas of 
national need. We intend this priority to improve rehabilitation 
services and outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
    Effective Date: This priority is effective November 30, 2006.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Donna Nangle, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., room 6030, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-7462 or via Internet: 
donna.nangle@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), you may 
call the Federal Relay Service (FRS) at 1-800-877-8339.
    Individuals with disabilities may obtain this document in an 
alternative format (e.g., Braille, large print, audiotape, or computer 
diskette) on request to the contact person listed under FOR FURTHER 
INFORMATION CONTACT.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:

Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Program

    The purpose of the DRRP program is to plan and conduct research, 
demonstration projects, training, and related activities to develop 
methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the 
full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent 
living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of 
individuals with disabilities, especially individuals with the most 
severe disabilities, and to improve the effectiveness of services 
authorized under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended. DRRPs 
carry out one or more of the following types of activities, as 
specified and defined in 34 CFR 350.13 through 350.19: Research, 
development, demonstration, training, dissemination, utilization, and 
technical assistance.
    An applicant for assistance under this program must demonstrate in 
its application how it will address, in whole or in part, the needs of 
individuals with disabilities from minority backgrounds (34 CFR 
350.40(a)). The approaches an applicant may take to meet this 
requirement are found in 34 CFR 350.40(b). In addition, NIDRR intends 
to require all DRRP applicants to meet the requirements of the General 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) Requirements 
priority that it published in a notice of final priorities in the 
Federal Register on April 28, 2006 (71 FR 25472).
    Additional information on the DRRP program can be found at: http://
www.ed.gov/rschstat/research/pubs/res-program.html#DRRP.
    We published a notice of proposed priorities (NPP) for NIDRR's 
Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, 
including the DRRP program, in the Federal Register on June 7, 2006 (71 
FR 32938). The NPP included a background statement that described our 
rationale for the priority proposed in that notice.
    There are no differences between the NPP and this notice of final 
priority (NFP).

Analysis of Comments and Changes

    In response to our invitation in the NPP, five parties submitted 
comments on the proposed priority addressed in this NFP. An analysis of 
the comments follows.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes, or 
suggested changes the law does not authorize us to make under the 
applicable statutory authority. In addition, we do not address general 
comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed 
priority.
    Comment: Four commenters expressed concern that the duration and 
the level of funding for the proposed DRRP may not be adequate to 
address the research activities proposed under the priority.
    Discussion: Although the funding level and the budget period were 
not addressed in the NPP, and are not subject to public comment, the 
Department is confident that the proposed funding level and budget 
period are reasonable.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter commended the U.S. Department of Education 
on its succinct synthesis of the problem, as well as its establishment 
of a priority for a DRRP that would research transition-age individuals 
with visual impairments. The commenter also suggested that the 
following additional issues should be considered for research and 
examination under the final priority: (1) The vital role of career 
education in the academic preparation of youths with visual 
disabilities; (2) The factors leading to disparities between 
postsecondary achievement and low employment outcomes of youth and 
young adults with blindness and other visual impairments; (3) The 
barriers to collaboration among service providers serving youth and 
young adults with blindness and other visual impairments and the impact 
of this disconnect on successful transition outcomes; (4) The factors 
contributing to successful adult outcomes, including orientation and 
mobility skills, socialization and independent living skills, and 
training in the use of materials in appropriate alternate media, such 
as Braille and new accessible information technologies; (5) The role of 
parents' attitudes and involvement in the transition process; and (6) 
Job-seeking strategies and the development of competitive employment 
skills.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees with the commenter that each of the above 
issues is relevant to the scope of work of the proposed DRRP. Nothing 
in the proposed priority would preclude an applicant from proposing 
research that examines any or all of the issues listed by the 
commenter. However, NIDRR does not believe that it is appropriate to 
require all applicants to focus their research on one or all of these 
issues. The peer reviewers will assess the merits of research proposals 
submitted.
    Changes: None.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this priority, we invite applications through 
a notice in the Federal Register. When inviting applications we 
designate the priority as absolute, competitive preference, or 
invitational. The effect of each type of priority follows:

    Absolute priority: Under an absolute priority, we consider only 
applications that meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(3)).
    Competitive preference priority: Under a competitive preference 
priority,

[[Page 64079]]

we give competitive preference to an application by either (1) awarding 
additional points, depending on how well or the extent to which the 
application meets the competitive preference priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive preference priority over an application of comparable merit 
that does not meet the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(ii)).
    Invitational priority: Under an invitational priority, we are 
particularly interested in applications that meet the invitational 
priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the 
invitational priority a competitive or absolute preference over other 
applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).

    Note: This NFP is in concert with President George W. Bush's New 
Freedom Initiative (NFI) and the Plan. The NFI can be accessed on 
the Internet at the following site: http://www.whitehouse.gov/
infocus/newfreedom
    The Plan, which was published in the Federal Register on 
February 15, 2006 (71 FR 8165), can be accessed on the Internet at 
the following site: http://www.ed.gov/about/offices/list/
osers/nidrr/policy.htm

    .1. Through the implementation of the NFI and the Plan, NIDRR seeks 
to--(1) Improve the quality and utility of disability and 
rehabilitation research; (2) Foster an exchange of expertise, 
information, and training to facilitate the advancement of knowledge 
and understanding of the unique needs of traditionally underserved 
populations; (3) Determine best strategies and programs to improve 
rehabilitation outcomes for underserved populations; (4) Identify 
research gaps; (5) Identify mechanisms of integrating research and 
practice; and (6) Disseminate findings.

Priority

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for a DRRP on VR: Transition Services 
that Lead to Competitive Employment Outcomes for Transition-Age 
Individuals With Blindness or Other Visual Impairments. Under this 
priority, the project must be designed to contribute to the following 
outcomes:
    (a) Increased knowledge about factors that influence vocational 
rehabilitation and/or transition outcomes and contribute to the 
acquisition of skills that correlate with sustained competitive 
employment and postsecondary success for transition-age individuals 
with blindness or other visual impairments. The grantee must: (1) 
Conduct a comprehensive literature review of research in the area of VR 
transition services that lead to successful employment outcomes for 
transition-age individuals with blindness or other visual impairments; 
(2) conduct a preliminary analysis of the Rehabilitation Services 
Administration (RSA) 911 Case Service Report data and other appropriate 
data sets to identify all pertinent information related to transition 
services for individuals with blindness or other visual impairments; 
and (3) examine factors that affect employment outcomes including the 
types of transition services provided by VR; the types of transition 
services provided by special education, if any; the age of the 
transitioning student at the time of first contact with VR; the amount 
of interaction the transitioning student has with VR prior to leaving 
school; the relationship the transition-age individual has with the VR 
counselor; the transition-age individual's early employment history; 
the transition-age individual's dependence on Social Security 
Administration (SSA) benefits; and the transition-age individual's 
socio-economic factors. In implementing item (3), the grantee must 
review VR case records from State VR agencies for the blind and State 
VR combined agencies, and interview consumers, rehabilitation 
professionals, teachers, postsecondary support service providers, SSA 
representatives, and other individuals involved in providing transition 
services.
    (b) Improved outcomes for individuals who are blind or visually 
impaired. Through development, demonstration, and evaluation of 
intervention methods, the grantee must identify practices that support 
and lead to improved outcomes for transition-age individuals with 
blindness or other visual impairments, including outcomes in workforce 
participation, competitive employment, or other areas of postsecondary 
success. The grantee should include activities that facilitate 
development of skills that lead to employment (critical thinking and 
problem-solving skills, and personal qualities). Grantees must utilize 
a rigorous (e.g., experimental or quasi-experimental) design.
    (c) Dissemination of research findings to State VR agencies, 
education agencies, consumers, researchers, and other stakeholders.
    (d) Coordination with projects sponsored by NIDRR, RSA, and the 
Office of Special Education Programs to ensure that research conducted 
under this priority builds on rather than duplicates related research 
and to ensure effective dissemination strategies. At a minimum, the 
grantee must coordinate with the NIDRR Rehabilitation Research and 
Training Center (RRTC) on Measuring Rehabilitation Outcomes and current 
RSA-sponsored research on related topics (including the post-VR 
experiences study and the national study of transition policies and 
practices in State VR agencies, and other relevant projects).

Executive Order 12866

    This NFP has been reviewed in accordance with Executive Order 
12866. Under the terms of the order, we have assessed the potential 
costs and benefits of this regulatory action.
    The potential costs associated with this NFP are those resulting 
from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary 
for administering this program effectively and efficiently.
    In assessing the potential costs and benefits--both quantitative 
and qualitative--of this NFP, we have determined that the benefits of 
the final priority justify the costs.

Summary of Potential Costs and Benefits

    The potential costs associated with this final priority are minimal 
while the benefits are significant. Grantees may incur some costs 
associated with completing the application process in terms of staff 
time, copying, and mailing or delivery. The use of e-Application 
technology reduces mailing and copying costs significantly.
    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Programs have been well established over the years in that 
similar projects have been completed successfully. This final priority 
will generate new knowledge and technologies through research, 
development, dissemination, utilization, and technical assistance 
projects.
    Another benefit of this final priority is that the establishment of 
a new DRRP will support the President's NFI and will improve the lives 
of persons with disabilities. The new DRRP will generate, disseminate, 
and promote the use of new information that will improve the options 
for individuals with disabilities.
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.

Electronic Access to This Document

    You may view this document, as well as all other Department of 
Education documents published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe 
Portable Document Format (PDF) on the Internet at the following site: 
www.ed.gov/news/fedregister.

[[Page 64080]]

    To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available 
free at this site. If you have questions about using PDF, call the U.S. 
Government Printing Office (GPO), toll free, at 1-888-293-6498; or in 
the Washington, DC, area at (202) 512-1530.

    Note: The official version of this document is the document 
published in the Federal Register. Free Internet access to the 
official edition of the Federal Register and the Code of Federal 
Regulations is available on GPO Access at: www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/
index.html.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.133A, Disability 
Rehabilitation Research Projects)


    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(a).

    Dated: October 24, 2006.
John H. Hager,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
 [FR Doc. E6-18192 Filed 10-30-06; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P