Rehabilitation Training-Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program, 5179-5182 [E8-1528]

Download as PDF Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 19 / Tuesday, January 29, 2008 / Notices V. Public Comment Anyone who needs an interpreter or other accommodation should notify the Corporation’s contact person by 5 p.m. Monday, February 4, 2008. Contact Person for More Information: Lisa Guccione, Senior Policy Advisor, Office of the CEO, Corporation for National and Community Service, 10th Floor, Room 10207, 1201 New York Avenue, NW., Washington, DC 20525. Phone (202) 606–6637. Fax (202) 606– 3460. TDD: (202) 606–3472. E-mail: lguccione@cns.gov. ACCOMMODATIONS: Dated: January 25, 2008. Frank R. Trinity, General Counsel. [FR Doc. 08–403 Filed 1–25–08; 12:18 pm] frequency of collection; and (6) Reporting and/or Recordkeeping burden. OMB invites public comment. The Department of Education is especially interested in public comment addressing the following issues: (1) Is this collection necessary to the proper functions of the Department; (2) will this information be processed and used in a timely manner; (3) is the estimate of burden accurate; (4) how might the Department enhance the quality, utility, and clarity of the information to be collected; and (5) how might the Department minimize the burden of this collection on the respondents, including through the use of information technology. BILLING CODE 6050–$$–P Dated: January 23, 2008. Angela C. Arrington, IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, Office of Management. DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Institute of Education Sciences Notice of Proposed Information Collection Requests Department of Education. The IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, Office of Management, invites comments on the proposed information collection requests as required by the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995. DATES: Interested persons are invited to submit comments on or before March 31, 2008. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Section 3506 of the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. Chapter 35) requires that the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) provide interested Federal agencies and the public an early opportunity to comment on information collection requests. OMB may amend or waive the requirement for public consultation to the extent that public participation in the approval process would defeat the purpose of the information collection, violate State or Federal law, or substantially interfere with any agency’s ability to perform its statutory obligations. The IC Clearance Official, Regulatory Information Management Services, Office of Management, publishes that notice containing proposed information collection requests prior to submission of these requests to OMB. Each proposed information collection, grouped by office, contains the following: (1) Type of review requested, e.g. new, revision, extension, existing or reinstatement; (2) Title; (3) Summary of the collection; (4) Description of the need for, and proposed use of, the information; (5) Respondents and AGENCY: sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES SUMMARY: VerDate Aug<31>2005 22:52 Jan 28, 2008 Jkt 214001 Type of Review: Revision. Title: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), WebBased Collection System. Frequency: Annually. Affected Public: Not-for-profit institutions; businesses or other forprofit; State, Local, or Tribal Gov’t, SEAs or LEAs. Reporting and Recordkeeping Hour Burden: Responses: 6,600. Burden Hours: 162,610. Abstract: IPEDS is a web-based data collection system designed to collect basic data from all postsecondary institutions in the United States and the other jurisdictions. IPEDS allows the National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) to describe the size of one of the nation’s largest enterprises, postsecondary education, in terms of students enrolled, degrees and other awards earned, dollars expended, and staff employed. IPEDS incorporates technological improvements into the collection that enhance data submission and data availability. The IPEDS webbased data collection system was implemented in 2000–01, and it collects basic data from approximately 6,600 postsecondary institutions in the United States and the other jurisdictions that are eligible to participate in Title IV Federal financial aid programs. All Title IV institutions are required to respond to IPEDS (Section 490 of the Higher Education Amendments of 1992 (Pub. L. 102–325)). IPEDS allows other (nonTitle IV) institutions to participate on a voluntary basis, but only about 200 elect to respond. Requests for copies of the proposed information collection request may be PO 00000 Frm 00026 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5179 accessed from http://edicsweb.ed.gov, by selecting the ‘‘Browse Pending Collections’’ link and by clicking on link number 3568. When you access the information collection, click on ‘‘Download Attachments’’ to view. Written requests for information should be addressed to U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue, SW., Washington, DC 20202–4537. Requests may also be electronically mailed to ICDocketMgr@ed.gov faxed to 202–401– 0920. Please specify the complete title of the information collection when making your request. Comments regarding burden and/or the collection activity requirements should be electronically mailed to ICDocketMgr@ed.gov. Individuals who use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) may call the Federal Information Relay Service (FIRS) at 1–800–877–8339. [FR Doc. E8–1538 Filed 1–28–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION Rehabilitation Training—Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Notice of proposed priority. AGENCY: SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority under the Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (RCEP) to fund regional Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) centers. The Assistant Secretary may use this priority for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2008 and later years. We take this action to improve the quantity and quality of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities through enhanced technical assistance and continuing education for State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and agency partners that cooperate with State VR agencies in providing VR and other rehabilitation services (e.g., Centers for Independent Living, Client Assistance Programs, and Community Rehabilitation Programs). DATES: We must receive your comments on or before February 28, 2008. ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this proposed priority to Christine Marschall, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., SW., room 5053, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202–2800. If you prefer to send your comments through E:\FR\FM\29JAN1.SGM 29JAN1 5180 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 19 / Tuesday, January 29, 2008 / Notices the Internet, use the following address: Christine.Marschall@ed.gov. You must include the term ‘‘TACE Priority’’ in the subject line of your electronic message. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christine Marschall. Telephone: (202) 245–7429 or via Internet: Christine.Marschall@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: Invitation to Comment We invite you to submit comments regarding this proposed priority. We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of reducing regulatory burden that might result from this proposed priority. Please let us know of any further opportunities we should take to reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while preserving the effective and efficient administration of the program. During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public comments about this proposed priority in room 5053, Potomac Center Plaza, 550 12th Street, SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays. Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking Record On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public rulemaking record for this proposed priority. If you want to schedule an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Background The RCEP has traditionally provided continuing education to employees of State VR agencies and agency partners that cooperate with State VR agencies in providing VR and other rehabilitation services. Through the RCEP the Department currently supports 11 VerDate Aug<31>2005 22:52 Jan 28, 2008 Jkt 214001 regional programs that focus on training employees and professionals of State VR agencies, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), and Client Assistance Programs (CAPs) and 10 regional programs that focus on training professionals of Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs). Over the past two years, the Department’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has enhanced its program monitoring of State VR agencies to not only evaluate program compliance, but also to assist State VR agencies improve the quantity and quality of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. One result of RSA’s enhanced monitoring has been the ability to identify the needs of State VR agencies for technical assistance and continuing education in such areas as improving quality assurance, using program data for program improvement, and managing personnel effectively. On March 6, 2007, the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services solicited public comments and recommendations regarding the RSA Rehabilitation Training program through a notice published in the Federal Register (72 FR 9942). The public comments and recommendations received in response to this notice generally support the role of the RCEP in providing technical assistance and continuing education. Many of the comments and recommendations also support maintaining the regional model of service provision for the program because it enables each regional RCEP center to be knowledgeable about the unique demographic, economic, and service needs of the State VR agencies in its region, and to tailor its continuing education and technical assistance activities to meet those needs. Additionally, needs assessments conducted by the Department’s current RCEP grantees indicate that technical assistance and continuing education for both the State VR agency and the agency partners are needed to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. To address the need for technical assistance and continuing education, RSA seeks to revise the structure of the RCEP. Rather than supporting two types of Regional Centers as has been done under the current RCEP model—those serving State VR agencies, CILS, and CAPs and those serving CRPs—RSA seeks to fund 10 regional Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) centers to provide technical assistance and continuing education for both employees of State VR agencies and all agency partners (e.g., CILs, CAPs PO 00000 Frm 00027 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 and CRPs). The integration of these activities in each regional center would help ensure that State VR agencies and all agency partners are provided with consistent information and strategies that can be implemented by State VR agencies and all agency partners to improve VR service delivery and the quality and quantity of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. In addition, the integration of the two types of RCEPs would result in greater administrative efficiency because the RCEPs that served the State VR agencies, CILs and CAPs and the RCEPs that served the CRPs frequently developed materials and provided training on similar topics. The reduction of overhead costs resulting from combining the two types of RCEPs would enable more RSA funds to be devoted to providing technical assistance and continuing education. We will announce the final priority in a notice in the Federal Register. We will determine the final priority after considering responses to this notice and other information available to the Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing or funding additional priorities, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements. Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use this proposed 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 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 priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the competitive 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)). Priority: Proposed Priority—Regional Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Centers. The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority to establish 10 regional TACE centers to provide (1) technical assistance to State VR agencies and agency partners that cooperate with State VR agencies in providing VR and E:\FR\FM\29JAN1.SGM 29JAN1 sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 19 / Tuesday, January 29, 2008 / Notices other rehabilitation services to improve services required under the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and (2) continuing education to employees of State VR agencies and agency partners. Under this priority, the TACE centers must contribute to the following outcomes: Improved quality of VR services, increased effectiveness and efficiency of State VR agencies in delivering VR services, and improved quantity and quality of VR employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The TACE centers must contribute to these outcomes by providing technical assistance and continuing education, either directly or through contract, to employees of State VR agencies and agency partners on topics that are identified jointly by RSA and each center’s advisory committee and included in the center’s work plan. Under this priority, applicants must demonstrate their ability to respond rapidly to a broad range of technical assistance and continuing education needs. Applicants must provide evidence in their applications that they have expertise, or access to subjectmatter experts with experience, in conducting technical assistance and continuing education in such areas of need as the improvement of VR agencies’ service delivery; practices and interventions related to specific VR populations; quality assurance; case management at the administrative and counselor level; the use of assistive technology to achieve employment goals; personnel management (e.g., staff retention strategies); fiscal management; data management; communication skills development; development of individualized plans for employment; development of VR State plans; and strategic planning. Under this priority, each TACE center must— 1. Establish, in consultation with RSA, an annual work plan describing activities that the center will conduct to assist State VR agencies to accomplish the goals identified in their VR State plans and to achieve other performance and compliance goals identified by RSA’s monitoring reports. The work plan must identify the nature and scope, including delivery means and methods, of the technical assistance and continuing education to be provided by the center; 2. Conduct an annual needs assessment to identify technical assistance and continuing education needs of State VR agencies and agency partners in its region, as applicable. Each center must base its annual needs assessment on a thorough review of VR VerDate Aug<31>2005 22:52 Jan 28, 2008 Jkt 214001 State plans, on-site monitoring reports and annual review reports issued by RSA, other performance and compliance information available from RSA and State VR agencies, and other data, as appropriate; 3. Establish a center advisory committee to provide input on the annual needs assessments conducted by the center in accordance with paragraph (2) of this priority. In addition to the requirements in 34 CFR 385.40 for mandatory members of the center advisory committee, the committee must include representatives from Independent Living Training and Technical Assistance grantees and RSA representatives as ex-officio members. Note: Members of minority groups are listed in 34 CFR 385.40 as one of the categories of mandatory participants on rehabilitation training advisory committees. However, the Department intends to publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 34 CFR 385.40, which would remove the requirement that an applicant include members of minority groups on all project advisory committees. The NPRM would add a requirement that an applicant include individuals who are knowledgeable about the special needs of individuals with disabilities from diverse groups, including minority groups. The purpose of this change would be to more clearly reflect the intent of the Department that project advisory committees include individuals who are familiar with the needs of individuals with disabilities from diverse groups, rather than individuals who are just members of such groups. 4. Participate as an observer in RSA’s triennial monitoring of State VR agencies in its region by attending, at a minimum, each State VR agency’s monitoring exit conference in order to gain a thorough understanding of each State VR agency’s technical assistance and continuing education needs; 5. Collaborate with other TACE centers to provide technical assistance and continuing education as efficiently as possible to employees of State VR agencies and agency partners that have similar needs; 6. Coordinate services with other entities that provide technical assistance to State VR agencies and agency partners, including, but not limited to, Independent Living Training and Technical Assistance grantees and Assistive Technology projects funded under the Department’s Assistive Technology program; and 7. Evaluate how well each technical assistance and continuing education activity provided by the center meets a targeted area of need (e.g., the improvement of VR agencies’ service delivery; practices and interventions related to specific VR populations; quality assurance), based on goals and PO 00000 Frm 00028 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 5181 objectives established for the activity in the center’s work plan. Each center must provide data on each training and technical assistance activity it conducts, including the topic of the activity, the number and types of personnel and agencies participating in the activity, participant evaluations of the effectiveness of the activity, and any other data required by the Department. Each center must include the results of its evaluation in its annual performance report. RSA will convene an independent review panel to evaluate the work of the centers. The independent review panel will use the following performance measures: (a) The percentage of technical assistance and continuing education services provided by the center that are deemed to be of high quality; (b) the percentage of technical assistance and continuing education services provided by the center that are deemed to be of high relevance to State VR policies or practices; and (c) the percentage of technical assistance and continuing education services provided by the center that are deemed to be useful in improving State VR agency policies or practices. Executive Order 12866 This notice of proposed priority (NPP) 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 the NPP 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 NPP, we have determined that the benefits of the proposed priority justify the costs. We have also determined that this regulatory action does not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions. Summary of potential costs and benefits: Potential costs of the proposed priority include costs of establishing and administrating the program, conducting the annual needs assessments, providing technical assistance and continuing education, conducting the annual evaluation, and preparing and filing required reports. The benefits of the program are improved VR employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities as a result of technical assistance and continuing education activities and decreased E:\FR\FM\29JAN1.SGM 29JAN1 5182 Federal Register / Vol. 73, No. 19 / Tuesday, January 29, 2008 / Notices administrative costs because the technical assistance and continuing education activities in each region are provided by one center rather than two centers. Intergovernmental Review This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal financial assistance. This document provides early notification of our specific plans and actions for this program. Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR parts 385 and 389. 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: http://www.ed.gov/ news/fedregister/index.html. 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: http://http://www.gpoaccess.gov/ nara/index.html. (Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.264A Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program). Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 772. Dated: January 24, 2008. Tracy R. Justesen, Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. E8–1528 Filed 1–28–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P sroberts on PROD1PC70 with NOTICES DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Office of Electricity Delivery And Energy Reliability; Department of Energy; Notice of Intent to Establish the Electricity Advisory Committee Pursuant to Section 9 of the Federal Advisory Committee Act, App. 2, and section 102–3.65, title 41, Code of Federal Regulations and following consultation with the Committee VerDate Aug<31>2005 22:52 Jan 28, 2008 Jkt 214001 Management Secretariat, General Services Administration, notice is hereby given that the Electricity Advisory Committee is established for a two-year period. The Committee will provide advice to the Assistant Secretary for Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability, Office of Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability (DOE), on long range planning and priorities for the modernization of the Nation’s electricity delivery infrastructure. The Secretary of Energy has determined that establishment of the Committee is required to conduct business of the Department of Energy and is in the public interest in connection with the performance of duties imposed upon the Department of Energy. The Committee will operate in accordance with the provisions of the Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92–463), the General Services Administration Final Rule on Federal Advisory Committee Management, and other directives and instructions issued in implementation of those acts. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Mr. David Meyer at 202–586–3118. Issued in Washington, DC on January 24, 2008. Carol A. Matthews, Acting Committee Management Officer. [FR Doc. E8–1503 Filed 1–28–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Environmental Management SiteSpecific Advisory Board, Paducah Department of Energy (DOE). Notice of Open Meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: This notice announces a meeting of the Environmental Management Site-Specific Advisory Board (EM SSAB), Paducah. The Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92–463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of this meeting be announced in the Federal Register. DATES: Thursday, February 21, 2008. 6 p.m. ADDRESSES: Barkley Centre, 111 Memorial Drive, Paducah, Kentucky 42001. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Reinhard Knerr, Deputy Designated Federal Officer, Department of Energy Paducah Site Office, Post Office Box 1410, MS–103, Paducah, Kentucky 42001, (270) 441–6825. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of the Board: The purpose of the Board is SUMMARY: PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4703 Sfmt 4703 to make recommendations to DOE in the areas of environmental restoration, waste management and related activities. Tentative Agenda 6 p.m. Call to Order, Introductions, Review of Agenda, and Approval of November Meeting Minutes. 6:10 p.m. Deputy Designated Federal Officer’s Comments. 6:30 p.m. Federal Coordinator’s Comments. 6:35 p.m. Liaisons’ Comments. 6:45 p.m. Presentations. 7 p.m. Public Comments. 7:15 p.m. Administrative Issues. 8 p.m. Final Comments. 8:15 p.m. Adjourn. Breaks Taken As Appropriate Public Participation: The meeting is open to the public. Written statements may be filed with the Board either before or after the meeting. Individuals who wish to make oral statements pertaining to agenda items should contact Reinhard Knerr at the address or telephone number listed above. Requests must be received five days prior to the meeting and reasonable provision will be made to include the presentation in the agenda. The Deputy Designated Federal Officer is empowered to conduct the meeting in a fashion that will facilitate the orderly conduct of business. Individuals wishing to make public comment will be provided a maximum of five minutes to present their comments. Minutes: Minutes will be available by writing or calling Reinhard Knerr at the address and phone number listed above. Minutes will also be available at the following Web site http:// www.pgdpcab.org/minutes.htm. Issued at Washington, DC on January 24, 2008. Rachel Samuel, Deputy Committee Management Officer. [FR Doc. E8–1496 Filed 1–28–08; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 6450–01–P DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY Office of Science; High Energy Physics Advisory Panel Department of Energy. Notice of Open Meeting. AGENCY: ACTION: SUMMARY: This notice announces a meeting of the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel (HEPAP). Federal Advisory Committee Act (Pub. L. 92– 463, 86 Stat. 770) requires that public notice of these meetings be announced in the Federal Register. E:\FR\FM\29JAN1.SGM 29JAN1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 73, Number 19 (Tuesday, January 29, 2008)]
[Notices]
[Pages 5179-5182]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: E8-1528]


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

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION


Rehabilitation Training--Rehabilitation Continuing Education 
Program

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

ACTION: Notice of proposed priority.

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

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services proposes a priority under the Rehabilitation 
Continuing Education Program (RCEP) to fund regional Technical 
Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) centers. The Assistant 
Secretary may use this priority for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 
2008 and later years. We take this action to improve the quantity and 
quality of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities 
through enhanced technical assistance and continuing education for 
State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and agency partners that 
cooperate with State VR agencies in providing VR and other 
rehabilitation services (e.g., Centers for Independent Living, Client 
Assistance Programs, and Community Rehabilitation Programs).

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before February 28, 2008.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this proposed priority to 
Christine Marschall, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Ave., 
SW., room 5053, Potomac Center Plaza, Washington, DC 20202-2800. If you 
prefer to send your comments through

[[Page 5180]]

the Internet, use the following address: Christine.Marschall@ed.gov.
    You must include the term ``TACE Priority'' in the subject line of 
your electronic message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Christine Marschall. Telephone: (202) 
245-7429 or via Internet: Christine.Marschall@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:

Invitation to Comment

    We invite you to submit comments regarding this proposed priority.
    We invite you to assist us in complying with the specific 
requirements of Executive Order 12866 and its overall requirement of 
reducing regulatory burden that might result from this proposed 
priority. Please let us know of any further opportunities we should 
take to reduce potential costs or increase potential benefits while 
preserving the effective and efficient administration of the program.
    During and after the comment period, you may inspect all public 
comments about this proposed priority in room 5053, Potomac Center 
Plaza, 550 12th Street, SW., Washington, DC, between the hours of 8:30 
a.m. and 4 p.m., Eastern time, Monday through Friday of each week 
except Federal holidays.

Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the Rulemaking 
Record

    On request, we will supply an appropriate aid, such as a reader or 
print magnifier, to an individual with a disability who needs 
assistance to review the comments or other documents in the public 
rulemaking record for this proposed priority. If you want to schedule 
an appointment for this type of aid, please contact the person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Background

    The RCEP has traditionally provided continuing education to 
employees of State VR agencies and agency partners that cooperate with 
State VR agencies in providing VR and other rehabilitation services. 
Through the RCEP the Department currently supports 11 regional programs 
that focus on training employees and professionals of State VR 
agencies, Centers for Independent Living (CILs), and Client Assistance 
Programs (CAPs) and 10 regional programs that focus on training 
professionals of Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs).
    Over the past two years, the Department's Rehabilitation Services 
Administration (RSA) has enhanced its program monitoring of State VR 
agencies to not only evaluate program compliance, but also to assist 
State VR agencies improve the quantity and quality of employment 
outcomes for individuals with disabilities. One result of RSA's 
enhanced monitoring has been the ability to identify the needs of State 
VR agencies for technical assistance and continuing education in such 
areas as improving quality assurance, using program data for program 
improvement, and managing personnel effectively.
    On March 6, 2007, the Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services solicited public comments and recommendations 
regarding the RSA Rehabilitation Training program through a notice 
published in the Federal Register (72 FR 9942). The public comments and 
recommendations received in response to this notice generally support 
the role of the RCEP in providing technical assistance and continuing 
education. Many of the comments and recommendations also support 
maintaining the regional model of service provision for the program 
because it enables each regional RCEP center to be knowledgeable about 
the unique demographic, economic, and service needs of the State VR 
agencies in its region, and to tailor its continuing education and 
technical assistance activities to meet those needs.
    Additionally, needs assessments conducted by the Department's 
current RCEP grantees indicate that technical assistance and continuing 
education for both the State VR agency and the agency partners are 
needed to improve employment outcomes for individuals with 
disabilities.
    To address the need for technical assistance and continuing 
education, RSA seeks to revise the structure of the RCEP. Rather than 
supporting two types of Regional Centers as has been done under the 
current RCEP model--those serving State VR agencies, CILS, and CAPs and 
those serving CRPs--RSA seeks to fund 10 regional Technical Assistance 
and Continuing Education (TACE) centers to provide technical assistance 
and continuing education for both employees of State VR agencies and 
all agency partners (e.g., CILs, CAPs and CRPs). The integration of 
these activities in each regional center would help ensure that State 
VR agencies and all agency partners are provided with consistent 
information and strategies that can be implemented by State VR agencies 
and all agency partners to improve VR service delivery and the quality 
and quantity of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. 
In addition, the integration of the two types of RCEPs would result in 
greater administrative efficiency because the RCEPs that served the 
State VR agencies, CILs and CAPs and the RCEPs that served the CRPs 
frequently developed materials and provided training on similar topics. 
The reduction of overhead costs resulting from combining the two types 
of RCEPs would enable more RSA funds to be devoted to providing 
technical assistance and continuing education.
    We will announce the final priority in a notice in the Federal 
Register. We will determine the final priority after considering 
responses to this notice and other information available to the 
Department. This notice does not preclude us from proposing or funding 
additional priorities, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking 
requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use this proposed 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 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 priority (34 CFR 
75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting an application that meets the 
competitive 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)).

    Priority: Proposed Priority--Regional Technical Assistance and 
Continuing Education (TACE) Centers.
    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services proposes a priority to establish 10 regional TACE centers to 
provide (1) technical assistance to State VR agencies and agency 
partners that cooperate with State VR agencies in providing VR and

[[Page 5181]]

other rehabilitation services to improve services required under the 
Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, and (2) continuing education to 
employees of State VR agencies and agency partners.
    Under this priority, the TACE centers must contribute to the 
following outcomes: Improved quality of VR services, increased 
effectiveness and efficiency of State VR agencies in delivering VR 
services, and improved quantity and quality of VR employment outcomes 
for individuals with disabilities. The TACE centers must contribute to 
these outcomes by providing technical assistance and continuing 
education, either directly or through contract, to employees of State 
VR agencies and agency partners on topics that are identified jointly 
by RSA and each center's advisory committee and included in the 
center's work plan.
    Under this priority, applicants must demonstrate their ability to 
respond rapidly to a broad range of technical assistance and continuing 
education needs. Applicants must provide evidence in their applications 
that they have expertise, or access to subject-matter experts with 
experience, in conducting technical assistance and continuing education 
in such areas of need as the improvement of VR agencies' service 
delivery; practices and interventions related to specific VR 
populations; quality assurance; case management at the administrative 
and counselor level; the use of assistive technology to achieve 
employment goals; personnel management (e.g., staff retention 
strategies); fiscal management; data management; communication skills 
development; development of individualized plans for employment; 
development of VR State plans; and strategic planning.
    Under this priority, each TACE center must--
    1. Establish, in consultation with RSA, an annual work plan 
describing activities that the center will conduct to assist State VR 
agencies to accomplish the goals identified in their VR State plans and 
to achieve other performance and compliance goals identified by RSA's 
monitoring reports. The work plan must identify the nature and scope, 
including delivery means and methods, of the technical assistance and 
continuing education to be provided by the center;
    2. Conduct an annual needs assessment to identify technical 
assistance and continuing education needs of State VR agencies and 
agency partners in its region, as applicable. Each center must base its 
annual needs assessment on a thorough review of VR State plans, on-site 
monitoring reports and annual review reports issued by RSA, other 
performance and compliance information available from RSA and State VR 
agencies, and other data, as appropriate;
    3. Establish a center advisory committee to provide input on the 
annual needs assessments conducted by the center in accordance with 
paragraph (2) of this priority. In addition to the requirements in 34 
CFR 385.40 for mandatory members of the center advisory committee, the 
committee must include representatives from Independent Living Training 
and Technical Assistance grantees and RSA representatives as ex-officio 
members.

    Note: Members of minority groups are listed in 34 CFR 385.40 as 
one of the categories of mandatory participants on rehabilitation 
training advisory committees. However, the Department intends to 
publish a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) to amend 34 CFR 
385.40, which would remove the requirement that an applicant include 
members of minority groups on all project advisory committees. The 
NPRM would add a requirement that an applicant include individuals 
who are knowledgeable about the special needs of individuals with 
disabilities from diverse groups, including minority groups. The 
purpose of this change would be to more clearly reflect the intent 
of the Department that project advisory committees include 
individuals who are familiar with the needs of individuals with 
disabilities from diverse groups, rather than individuals who are 
just members of such groups.

    4. Participate as an observer in RSA's triennial monitoring of 
State VR agencies in its region by attending, at a minimum, each State 
VR agency's monitoring exit conference in order to gain a thorough 
understanding of each State VR agency's technical assistance and 
continuing education needs;
    5. Collaborate with other TACE centers to provide technical 
assistance and continuing education as efficiently as possible to 
employees of State VR agencies and agency partners that have similar 
needs;
    6. Coordinate services with other entities that provide technical 
assistance to State VR agencies and agency partners, including, but not 
limited to, Independent Living Training and Technical Assistance 
grantees and Assistive Technology projects funded under the 
Department's Assistive Technology program; and
    7. Evaluate how well each technical assistance and continuing 
education activity provided by the center meets a targeted area of need 
(e.g., the improvement of VR agencies' service delivery; practices and 
interventions related to specific VR populations; quality assurance), 
based on goals and objectives established for the activity in the 
center's work plan. Each center must provide data on each training and 
technical assistance activity it conducts, including the topic of the 
activity, the number and types of personnel and agencies participating 
in the activity, participant evaluations of the effectiveness of the 
activity, and any other data required by the Department. Each center 
must include the results of its evaluation in its annual performance 
report. RSA will convene an independent review panel to evaluate the 
work of the centers. The independent review panel will use the 
following performance measures: (a) The percentage of technical 
assistance and continuing education services provided by the center 
that are deemed to be of high quality; (b) the percentage of technical 
assistance and continuing education services provided by the center 
that are deemed to be of high relevance to State VR policies or 
practices; and (c) the percentage of technical assistance and 
continuing education services provided by the center that are deemed to 
be useful in improving State VR agency policies or practices.

Executive Order 12866

    This notice of proposed priority (NPP) 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 the NPP 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 NPP, we have determined that the benefits of 
the proposed priority justify the costs.
    We have also determined that this regulatory action does not unduly 
interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of 
their governmental functions.
    Summary of potential costs and benefits: Potential costs of the 
proposed priority include costs of establishing and administrating the 
program, conducting the annual needs assessments, providing technical 
assistance and continuing education, conducting the annual evaluation, 
and preparing and filing required reports. The benefits of the program 
are improved VR employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities 
as a result of technical assistance and continuing education activities 
and decreased

[[Page 5182]]

administrative costs because the technical assistance and continuing 
education activities in each region are provided by one center rather 
than two centers.

Intergovernmental Review

    This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the 
regulations in 34 CFR part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive 
order is to foster an intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened 
federalism. The Executive order relies on processes developed by State 
and local governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal 
financial assistance.
    This document provides early notification of our specific plans and 
actions for this program. Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR parts 
385 and 389.

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: 
http://www.ed.gov/news/fedregister/index.html.
    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: http://http://
www.gpoaccess.gov/nara/index.html.

(Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance Number 84.264A 
Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program).

    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 772.

    Dated: January 24, 2008.
Tracy R. Justesen,
Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services.
 [FR Doc. E8-1528 Filed 1-28-08; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P