Final Priorities; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research-Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers, 42169-42174 [2014-16995]

Download as PDF Vol. 79 Friday, No. 138 July 18, 2014 Part IV Department of Education mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES4 34 CFR Chapter III Final Priorities; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research—Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers; Rule; Applications for New Awards; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research—Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers; Notice VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:15 Jul 17, 2014 Jkt 232001 PO 00000 Frm 00001 Fmt 4717 Sfmt 4717 E:\FR\FM\18JYR4.SGM 18JYR4 42170 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 138 / Friday, July 18, 2014 / Rules and Regulations DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Chapter III [ED–2014–OSERS–0012] Final Priorities; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research—Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Final priority. AGENCY: [CFDA Numbers: 84.133B–6 and 84.133B–7.] The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces two priorities for the Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers (RRTC) Program administered by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Specifically, this notice announces two priorities for two RRTCs on Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions and Community Living and Participation for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions. The Assistant Secretary may use these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2014 and later years. This RRTC will be jointly funded by NIDRR and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). We take this action to focus research attention on an area of national need. We intend these priorities to contribute to improved outcomes in the transition to employment and community living and participation for youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions (SMHC) resulting in psychiatric disability. DATES: These priorities are effective August 18, 2014. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Barrett, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5142, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202–2700. Telephone: (202) 245–6211 or by email: patricia.barrett@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1–800–877– 8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related activities, including international activities, to develop mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES4 SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:15 Jul 17, 2014 Jkt 232001 methods, procedures, and rehabilitation technology that maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social selfsufficiency 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 (Rehabilitation Act). Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers The purpose of the RRTCs, which are funded through the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to achieve the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized under the Rehabilitation Act through welldesigned research, training, technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topical areas, as specified by NIDRR. These activities are designed to benefit rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family members, policymakers and other research stakeholders. Additional information on the RRTC program can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/ programs/rrtc/index.html. Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2). Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350. We published a notice of proposed priorities (NPP) in the Federal Register on April 15, 2014 (79 FR 21168). That notice contained background information and our reasons for proposing the particular priorities. There are differences between the proposed priorities and these final priorities as discussed in the Analysis of Comments and Changes section elsewhere in this notice. Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the notice of proposed priorities, five parties submitted comments on the proposed priorities. Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes. Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and of any changes in the priorities since publication of the NPP follows. Comment: One commenter recommended that NIDRR not publish a final priority on Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions. To achieve both employment and community living and participation outcomes for this population, the commenter recommended that NIDRR require the RRTC on Community Living and PO 00000 Frm 00002 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 Participation for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions to conduct research on ‘‘mindfulness’’ interventions for this population. Discussion: We agree with the commenter that employment outcomes and community living and participation outcomes may be related for this population and that some interventions could have a positive influence on both of these broad outcome areas. However, NIDRR believes that the two outcome domains are distinct in the lives of individuals with disabilities. In addition, the social policies and service delivery systems that promote successful employment outcomes among individuals with disabilities are different from those that promote community living and participation. Thus, NIDRR and SAMHSA developed and intend to jointly fund two separate RRTCs on these outcome domains for youth and young adults with SMHC. Nothing in either priority precludes applicants from proposing and justifying research on mindfulness interventions for youth and young adults with SMHC. However, we do not believe it is necessary to further specify the research requirements in the way suggested by the commenter and thereby limit the number and breadth of applications submitted under these priorities. The peer review process will determine the merits of each proposal. Changes: None. Comment: Several commenters requested that NIDRR clarify that it is important that youth and young adults with SMHC play active roles in the activities of both priorities. Two commenters requested that NIDRR modify the two RRTC priorities to require the active involvement of youth and young adults with SMHC in the research and evaluation activities of the RRTCs in a manner that allows them to describe their experiences and perspectives. One of these commenters suggested that this engagement be as independent as possible, paralleling the youth and young adults’ selfdetermination and their growing independence from their families. The other of these commenters suggested that NIDRR require the development of guidelines to ensure that organizations are effective in integrating youth and young adults in the research and evaluation activities of the RRTCs. Another commenter requested that NIDRR modify the priorities in this notice to require specifically the active involvement of youth and young adults with SMHC in outreach and information dissemination to their peers. E:\FR\FM\18JYR4.SGM 18JYR4 mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES4 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 138 / Friday, July 18, 2014 / Rules and Regulations Discussion: We agree that youth and young adults with SMHC should be involved in the RRTC’s development and evaluation of interventions, as well as in its dissemination activities. We don’t however believe that it is necessary to require that guidelines be developed to govern this process. Paragraph (a)(ii) of both priorities requires applicants to involve youth and young adults with SMHC in identifying, developing, and evaluating interventions, and we have revised both priorities to require applicants to involve youth and young adults with SMHC in the RRTC’s dissemination activities. For all of these activities, we agree that it is critical that youth and young adults participate as independently as possible. Changes: To promote more independent involvement of youth and young adults with SMHC in identifying, developing, and evaluating interventions, we have modified paragraph (a)(ii) of each priority to state that applicants must involve youth and young adults with SMHC and may involve families or family surrogates, as appropriate. We also have modified paragraph (e)(iii) of priority 1 and paragraph (d)(iii) of priority 2 to require applicants to involve youth and young adults with SMHC in the RRTC’s dissemination and outreach efforts. Comment: One commenter noted that there are multiple variables that affect employment outcomes among youth and young adults with SMHC, including workplace environment variables and individual-level variables related to skills, goals, and interests. The commenter suggested that NIDRR modify the Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions priority to require research to develop interventions that promote employment for this population by targeting individual skills, goals, and interests, as well as the workplace environments in which the youth are seeking work. Discussion: NIDRR agrees that there are multiple variables that impact employment outcomes for youth and young adults with SMHC. We have purposely stated the requirements in paragraph (a) broadly, so that applicants can approach the task of identifying, developing, and evaluating interventions by focusing on the variables that they think are important, including the variables described by the commenter. We do not believe it is necessary to further specify the research requirements in the way suggested by the commenter and thereby limit the number and breadth of applications submitted under this priority. The peer VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:15 Jul 17, 2014 Jkt 232001 review process will determine the merits of each proposal. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter requested that NIDRR modify the Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions priority by providing a definition of ‘‘successful employment outcomes for youth and young adults with SMHC’’ that would include selfemployment and internship experiences. Discussion: In this priority, NIDRR’s focus is on employment. Selfemployment is a recognized employment outcome (see 34 CFR 361.5(b)(16)). An internship experience, in contrast, is typically defined as a method of on-the-job practical training for a fixed or limited period of time. While we do not view training experiences, such as an internship, as an employment outcome, an applicant could propose to conduct research evaluating the effectiveness of internships as an intervention in improving employment outcomes for youth and young adults with SMHC. We expect applicants to identify the criteria they will use in determining whether participants have obtained an ‘‘employment outcome’’ and peer reviewers will assess an applicant’s criteria as part of the review process. We do not want to limit the breadth of applications that can be submitted by imposing a definition of ‘‘successful employment.’’ Changes: None. Comment: One commenter recommended that NIDRR modify the Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions priority to distinguish between short-term employment goals, such as meeting immediate financial needs, and longterm employment goals, such as advancing along a self-determined career path and experiencing a satisfying and fulfilling career. Discussion: The focus of the priority is on improving employment outcomes, not on an individual’s employment goals. However, nothing in the priority precludes applicants from proposing research that examines short-term or long-term employment goals as a variable that may affect employment outcomes for individuals with SMHC. The peer review process will determine the merits of each proposal. Changes: None. Comment: One commenter suggested that the RRTC’s research focus on longterm, rather than short-term, employment outcomes. PO 00000 Frm 00003 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 42171 Discussion: Nothing in the priority precludes applicants from proposing research focused on short-term or longterm employment outcomes. However, we do not believe it is necessary to modify the priority to limit the scope of potential research that can be proposed by requiring research on what the commenter has called ‘‘long-term employment outcomes.’’ The peer review process will determine the merits of each proposal. Changes: None. Comment: None. Discussion: After further review, we believe that employers should be added to the list of organizations to which the RRTC on Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Illness must provide technical assistance. Employers play a key role in helping these individuals achieve favorable employment outcomes, and we expect that the RRTC’s research may help employers understand what accommodations may be necessary to support successful employment outcomes for these employees. Changes: In paragraph (c) of the priority on Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions, NIDRR is adding ‘‘employers’’ to the list of organizations for which capacity must be built to improve the employment and employment-related outcomes of youth and young adults with SMHC. Comment: One commenter requested that NIDRR modify the Community Living and Participation for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions priority to require research on interventions that give youth with SMHC opportunities to participate in community settings outside of the mental health service system and to engage with peers who are not in the mental health service system. Discussion: Nothing in the priority precludes applicants from identifying, developing, and evaluating interventions that provide the kinds of opportunities described by the commenter. However, we do not believe it is necessary to limit the number and breadth of applications that can be submitted under this priority, by requiring applicants to focus on the types of interventions that are described by the commenter. The peer review process will determine the merits of each proposal. Changes: None. E:\FR\FM\18JYR4.SGM 18JYR4 42172 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 138 / Friday, July 18, 2014 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES4 Final Priorities Priority 1—Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults With Serious Mental Health Conditions The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services establishes a priority for an RRTC on Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions. This RRTC must conduct research that contributes to improved employment outcomes (e.g., obtaining employment, retention, and earnings) and employment-related outcomes (e.g., postsecondary education, training and career development activities) for youth and young adults with SMHC. Applicants must specify how they will measure employment and employment-related outcomes in their applications. For purposes of this priority, the term ‘‘youth and young adults with SMHC’’ refers to individuals between the ages of 14 and 30, inclusive, who have been diagnosed either with a serious emotional disturbance (for individuals under the age of 18 years) or a serious mental illness (for those 18 years of age or older). Under this priority, the RRTC must contribute to the following outcomes: (a) More effective and developmentally appropriate interventions that improve employment outcomes and increase capacity to use self-determination skills and strategies for youth and young adults with SMHC. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by: (i) Identifying or developing, and then evaluating, innovative interventions that meet the needs of youth and young adults with SMHC; (ii) Involving youth and young adults with SMHC in the processes of identifying or developing, and then evaluating, interventions. Applicants may also involve family or family surrogates of youth and young adults with SMHC, as appropriate; and (iii) Including youth and young adults with SMHC who are at particular risk for less favorable employment outcomes (e.g., unemployment and difficulty maintaining employment). Applicants must identify the specific at-risk group or groups of youth and young adults with SMHC they propose to study, provide evidence that the selected population or populations are at risk for poor employment outcomes, and explain how the proposed practices are expected to address the needs of the identified population. (b) Increased knowledge about workforce participation of youth and young adults with SMHC, as well as the VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:15 Jul 17, 2014 Jkt 232001 service systems and evidence-based supported practices that enhance positive educational and vocational development. In generating this new knowledge, applicants should identify one or more specific stages of research. If the RRTC is to conduct research that can be categorized under more than one of the research stages, or research that progresses from one stage to another, those stages should be clearly specified. These research stages and their definitions are in the notice of final priorities and definitions published in the Federal Register on May 7, 2013 (78 FR 26513). (c) Increased capacity of employers, organizations, State agencies, and other service providers for youth and young adults with SMHC to improve the educational and employment outcomes for youth and young adults with SMHC. The RRTC will provide training and technical assistance to service providers who work with youth and young adults with SMHC. (d) New knowledge regarding changes in systems and policies that could improve education, career development, and employment for youth and young adults with SMHC. (e) Serving as a national resource center to: (i) Provide information and technical assistance to youth and young adults with SMHC, their representatives, and other key stakeholders; (ii) Provide training (including graduate, pre-service, and in-service training) and technical assistance to vocational rehabilitation providers and other disability service providers to facilitate more effective delivery of services to youth and young adults with SMHC. This training may be provided through conferences, workshops, public education programs, in-service training programs, and similar activities; (iii) Disseminate research-based information and materials related to employment of youth and young adults with SMHC. The applicant must describe how it will involve youth and young adults with SMHC in its dissemination and outreach activities; and (iv) Involve key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted under paragraph (a) in order to maximize the relevance and usability of the new knowledge generated by the RRTC. Priority 2—Community Living and Participation for Youth and Young Adults With Serious Mental Health Conditions The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services establishes a priority for an RRTC on PO 00000 Frm 00004 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 Community Living and Participation for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions. This RRTC must conduct research that contributes to improved community participation for youth and young adults with SMHC. For purposes of this priority, the term ‘‘youth and young adults with SMHC’’ refers to individuals between the ages of 14 and 30, inclusive, who have been diagnosed either with serious emotional disturbance (for individuals under the age of 18 years) or a serious mental illness (for those 18 years of age or older). Under this priority, the RRTC must contribute to the following outcomes: (a) More effective and developmentally appropriate interventions that improve community living and participation outcomes and increase capacity to use selfdeterminations skills and strategies for youth and young adults with SMHC. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by: (i) Identifying or developing, and then evaluating, innovative interventions that meet the needs of youth and young adults with SMHC; (ii) Involving youth and young adults with SMHC in the processes of identifying or developing, and then evaluating, interventions. Applicants may also involve family or family surrogates of youth and young adults with SMHC, as appropriate; and (iii) Including youth and young adults with SMHC who are at particular risk for less favorable community living and participation outcomes (e.g., those with justice system involvement, those in foster care, and those with multiple diagnoses). Applicants must identify the specific at-risk group or groups of youth and young adults with SMHC they propose to study, provide evidence that the selected population or populations are at risk for less favorable community living and participation outcomes, and explain how the proposed practices are expected to address the needs of the identified population. (b) Increased capacity of organizations and service providers for youth and young adults with SMHC to promote the social and self-determination skills of youth and young adults with SMHC and help them build connections with positive individuals and organizations in their communities. The RRTC will provide training and technical assistance to service providers who work with youth and young adults with SMHC. (c) New knowledge about key systems and policy issues that influence decisions about eligibility, effectiveness, structure, implementation, and funding E:\FR\FM\18JYR4.SGM 18JYR4 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 138 / Friday, July 18, 2014 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES4 for programs and initiatives that support community living and participation and self-determination in youth and young adults with SMHC. In generating this new knowledge, applicants should identify one or more specific stages of research. If the RRTC is to conduct research that can be categorized under more than one of the research stages, or research that progresses from one stage to another, those stages should be clearly specified. These research stages and their definitions are in the notice of final priorities and definitions published in the Federal Register on May 7, 2013 (78 FR 26513). (d) Serving as a national resource center related to community living and participation and self-determination of youth and young adults with SMHC by: (i) Providing information and technical assistance to youth and young adults with SMHC, their representatives, and other key stakeholders; (ii) Providing training (including graduate, pre-service, and in-service training) and technical assistance to service providers to facilitate more effective delivery of services to youth and young adults with SMHC. This training may be provided through conferences, workshops, public education programs, in-service training programs, and similar activities; (iii) Disseminating research-based information and materials related to community living and participation and self-determination of youth and young adults with SMHC. The applicant must describe how it will involve youth and young adults with SMHC in its dissemination and outreach activities; and (iv) Involving key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted under paragraph (a) in order to maximize the relevance and usability of the new knowledge generated by the RRTC. Types of Priorities When inviting applications for a competition using one or more priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal Register. 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 (1) awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) selecting VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:15 Jul 17, 2014 Jkt 232001 an application that meets the 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 priority. However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)). This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements. Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in which we choose to use these priorities, we invite applications through a notice in the Federal Register. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Regulatory Impact Analysis Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether this regulatory action is ‘‘significant’’ and, therefore, subject to the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866 defines a ‘‘significant regulatory action’’ as an action likely to result in a rule that may— (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to as an ‘‘economically significant’’ rule); (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients thereof; or (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal mandates, the President’s priorities, or the principles stated in the Executive order. This final regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866. We have also reviewed this final regulatory action under Executive Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 13563 requires that an agency— (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination that PO 00000 Frm 00005 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 4700 42173 their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits and costs are difficult to quantify); (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into account—among other things and to the extent practicable—the costs of cumulative regulations; (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity); (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must adopt; and (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct regulation, including economic incentives—such as user fees or marketable permits—to encourage the desired behavior, or provide information that enables the public to make choices. Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ‘‘to use the best available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future benefits and costs as accurately as possible.’’ The Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these techniques may include ‘‘identifying changing future compliance costs that might result from technological innovation or anticipated behavioral changes.’’ We are issuing these final priorities only on a reasoned determination that their benefits justify their costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches that maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the Department believes that this regulatory action is consistent with the principles in Executive Order 13563. We also have determined that this regulatory action does not unduly interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of their governmental functions. In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs are those resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as necessary for administering the Department’s programs and activities. The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program have been well established over the years, as projects similar to the ones envisioned by the E:\FR\FM\18JYR4.SGM 18JYR4 42174 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 138 / Friday, July 18, 2014 / Rules and Regulations mstockstill on DSK4VPTVN1PROD with RULES4 final priorities have been completed successfully. The new RRTCs will generate and promote the use of new knowledge that will improve the outcomes for employment and community living and participation for youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions. Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT. VerDate Mar<15>2010 19:15 Jul 17, 2014 Jkt 232001 Electronic Access to This Document: 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 via the Federal Digital System at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the site. PO 00000 Frm 00006 Fmt 4701 Sfmt 9990 You may also access documents of the Department published in the Federal Register by using the article search feature at: www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published by the Department. Dated: July 15, 2014. Michael K. Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. 2014–16995 Filed 7–17–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P E:\FR\FM\18JYR4.SGM 18JYR4

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 138 (Friday, July 18, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 42169-42174]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-16995]



[[Page 42169]]

Vol. 79

Friday,

No. 138

July 18, 2014

Part IV





Department of Education





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34 CFR Chapter III





 Final Priorities; National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation 
Research--Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers; Rule; 
Applications for New Awards; National Institute on Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research--Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers; 
Notice

Federal Register / Vol. 79 , No. 138 / Friday, July 18, 2014 / Rules 
and Regulations

[[Page 42170]]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter III

[ED-2014-OSERS-0012]


Final Priorities; National Institute on Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research--Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

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

ACTION: Final priority.

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[CFDA Numbers: 84.133B-6 and 84.133B-7.]

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces two priorities for the Rehabilitation 
Research and Training Centers (RRTC) Program administered by the 
National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). 
Specifically, this notice announces two priorities for two RRTCs on 
Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental 
Health Conditions and Community Living and Participation for Youth and 
Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions. The Assistant 
Secretary may use these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 
2014 and later years. This RRTC will be jointly funded by NIDRR and the 
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). We 
take this action to focus research attention on an area of national 
need. We intend these priorities to contribute to improved outcomes in 
the transition to employment and community living and participation for 
youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions (SMHC) 
resulting in psychiatric disability.

DATES: These priorities are effective August 18, 2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Patricia Barrett, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5142, Potomac Center Plaza 
(PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2700. Telephone: (202) 245-6211 or by 
email: patricia.barrett@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
    Purpose of Program: The purpose of the Disability and 
Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program is to plan and 
conduct research, demonstration projects, training, and related 
activities, including international 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 (Rehabilitation Act).

Rehabilitation Research and Training Centers

    The purpose of the RRTCs, which are funded through the Disability 
and Rehabilitation Research Projects and Centers Program, is to achieve 
the goals of, and improve the effectiveness of, services authorized 
under the Rehabilitation Act through well-designed research, training, 
technical assistance, and dissemination activities in important topical 
areas, as specified by NIDRR. These activities are designed to benefit 
rehabilitation service providers, individuals with disabilities, family 
members, policymakers and other research stakeholders. Additional 
information on the RRTC program can be found at: http://www2.ed.gov/programs/rrtc/index.html.
    Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 762(g) and 764(b)(2).
    Applicable Program Regulations: 34 CFR part 350.
    We published a notice of proposed priorities (NPP) in the Federal 
Register on April 15, 2014 (79 FR 21168). That notice contained 
background information and our reasons for proposing the particular 
priorities.
    There are differences between the proposed priorities and these 
final priorities as discussed in the Analysis of Comments and Changes 
section elsewhere in this notice.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation in the notice of 
proposed priorities, five parties submitted comments on the proposed 
priorities.
    Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in the priorities since publication of the NPP follows.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that NIDRR not publish a final 
priority on Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with 
Serious Mental Health Conditions. To achieve both employment and 
community living and participation outcomes for this population, the 
commenter recommended that NIDRR require the RRTC on Community Living 
and Participation for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health 
Conditions to conduct research on ``mindfulness'' interventions for 
this population.
    Discussion: We agree with the commenter that employment outcomes 
and community living and participation outcomes may be related for this 
population and that some interventions could have a positive influence 
on both of these broad outcome areas. However, NIDRR believes that the 
two outcome domains are distinct in the lives of individuals with 
disabilities. In addition, the social policies and service delivery 
systems that promote successful employment outcomes among individuals 
with disabilities are different from those that promote community 
living and participation. Thus, NIDRR and SAMHSA developed and intend 
to jointly fund two separate RRTCs on these outcome domains for youth 
and young adults with SMHC.
    Nothing in either priority precludes applicants from proposing and 
justifying research on mindfulness interventions for youth and young 
adults with SMHC. However, we do not believe it is necessary to further 
specify the research requirements in the way suggested by the commenter 
and thereby limit the number and breadth of applications submitted 
under these priorities. The peer review process will determine the 
merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: Several commenters requested that NIDRR clarify that it is 
important that youth and young adults with SMHC play active roles in 
the activities of both priorities. Two commenters requested that NIDRR 
modify the two RRTC priorities to require the active involvement of 
youth and young adults with SMHC in the research and evaluation 
activities of the RRTCs in a manner that allows them to describe their 
experiences and perspectives. One of these commenters suggested that 
this engagement be as independent as possible, paralleling the youth 
and young adults' self-determination and their growing independence 
from their families. The other of these commenters suggested that NIDRR 
require the development of guidelines to ensure that organizations are 
effective in integrating youth and young adults in the research and 
evaluation activities of the RRTCs. Another commenter requested that 
NIDRR modify the priorities in this notice to require specifically the 
active involvement of youth and young adults with SMHC in outreach and 
information dissemination to their peers.

[[Page 42171]]

    Discussion: We agree that youth and young adults with SMHC should 
be involved in the RRTC's development and evaluation of interventions, 
as well as in its dissemination activities. We don't however believe 
that it is necessary to require that guidelines be developed to govern 
this process. Paragraph (a)(ii) of both priorities requires applicants 
to involve youth and young adults with SMHC in identifying, developing, 
and evaluating interventions, and we have revised both priorities to 
require applicants to involve youth and young adults with SMHC in the 
RRTC's dissemination activities. For all of these activities, we agree 
that it is critical that youth and young adults participate as 
independently as possible.
    Changes: To promote more independent involvement of youth and young 
adults with SMHC in identifying, developing, and evaluating 
interventions, we have modified paragraph (a)(ii) of each priority to 
state that applicants must involve youth and young adults with SMHC and 
may involve families or family surrogates, as appropriate. We also have 
modified paragraph (e)(iii) of priority 1 and paragraph (d)(iii) of 
priority 2 to require applicants to involve youth and young adults with 
SMHC in the RRTC's dissemination and outreach efforts.
    Comment: One commenter noted that there are multiple variables that 
affect employment outcomes among youth and young adults with SMHC, 
including workplace environment variables and individual-level 
variables related to skills, goals, and interests. The commenter 
suggested that NIDRR modify the Transition to Employment for Youth and 
Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions priority to require 
research to develop interventions that promote employment for this 
population by targeting individual skills, goals, and interests, as 
well as the workplace environments in which the youth are seeking work.
    Discussion: NIDRR agrees that there are multiple variables that 
impact employment outcomes for youth and young adults with SMHC. We 
have purposely stated the requirements in paragraph (a) broadly, so 
that applicants can approach the task of identifying, developing, and 
evaluating interventions by focusing on the variables that they think 
are important, including the variables described by the commenter. We 
do not believe it is necessary to further specify the research 
requirements in the way suggested by the commenter and thereby limit 
the number and breadth of applications submitted under this priority. 
The peer review process will determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter requested that NIDRR modify the Transition 
to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health 
Conditions priority by providing a definition of ``successful 
employment outcomes for youth and young adults with SMHC'' that would 
include self-employment and internship experiences.
    Discussion: In this priority, NIDRR's focus is on employment. Self-
employment is a recognized employment outcome (see 34 CFR 
361.5(b)(16)). An internship experience, in contrast, is typically 
defined as a method of on-the-job practical training for a fixed or 
limited period of time. While we do not view training experiences, such 
as an internship, as an employment outcome, an applicant could propose 
to conduct research evaluating the effectiveness of internships as an 
intervention in improving employment outcomes for youth and young 
adults with SMHC. We expect applicants to identify the criteria they 
will use in determining whether participants have obtained an 
``employment outcome'' and peer reviewers will assess an applicant's 
criteria as part of the review process. We do not want to limit the 
breadth of applications that can be submitted by imposing a definition 
of ``successful employment.''
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter recommended that NIDRR modify the Transition 
to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health 
Conditions priority to distinguish between short-term employment goals, 
such as meeting immediate financial needs, and long-term employment 
goals, such as advancing along a self-determined career path and 
experiencing a satisfying and fulfilling career.
    Discussion: The focus of the priority is on improving employment 
outcomes, not on an individual's employment goals. However, nothing in 
the priority precludes applicants from proposing research that examines 
short-term or long-term employment goals as a variable that may affect 
employment outcomes for individuals with SMHC. The peer review process 
will determine the merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: One commenter suggested that the RRTC's research focus on 
long-term, rather than short-term, employment outcomes.
    Discussion: Nothing in the priority precludes applicants from 
proposing research focused on short-term or long-term employment 
outcomes. However, we do not believe it is necessary to modify the 
priority to limit the scope of potential research that can be proposed 
by requiring research on what the commenter has called ``long-term 
employment outcomes.'' The peer review process will determine the 
merits of each proposal.
    Changes: None.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: After further review, we believe that employers should 
be added to the list of organizations to which the RRTC on Transition 
to Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Illness 
must provide technical assistance. Employers play a key role in helping 
these individuals achieve favorable employment outcomes, and we expect 
that the RRTC's research may help employers understand what 
accommodations may be necessary to support successful employment 
outcomes for these employees.
    Changes: In paragraph (c) of the priority on Transition to 
Employment for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health 
Conditions, NIDRR is adding ``employers'' to the list of organizations 
for which capacity must be built to improve the employment and 
employment-related outcomes of youth and young adults with SMHC.
    Comment: One commenter requested that NIDRR modify the Community 
Living and Participation for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental 
Health Conditions priority to require research on interventions that 
give youth with SMHC opportunities to participate in community settings 
outside of the mental health service system and to engage with peers 
who are not in the mental health service system.
    Discussion: Nothing in the priority precludes applicants from 
identifying, developing, and evaluating interventions that provide the 
kinds of opportunities described by the commenter. However, we do not 
believe it is necessary to limit the number and breadth of applications 
that can be submitted under this priority, by requiring applicants to 
focus on the types of interventions that are described by the 
commenter. The peer review process will determine the merits of each 
proposal.
    Changes: None.

[[Page 42172]]

Final Priorities

Priority 1--Transition to Employment for Youth and Young Adults With 
Serious Mental Health Conditions

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for an RRTC on Transition to Employment 
for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions. This 
RRTC must conduct research that contributes to improved employment 
outcomes (e.g., obtaining employment, retention, and earnings) and 
employment-related outcomes (e.g., postsecondary education, training 
and career development activities) for youth and young adults with 
SMHC. Applicants must specify how they will measure employment and 
employment-related outcomes in their applications.
    For purposes of this priority, the term ``youth and young adults 
with SMHC'' refers to individuals between the ages of 14 and 30, 
inclusive, who have been diagnosed either with a serious emotional 
disturbance (for individuals under the age of 18 years) or a serious 
mental illness (for those 18 years of age or older). Under this 
priority, the RRTC must contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) More effective and developmentally appropriate interventions 
that improve employment outcomes and increase capacity to use self-
determination skills and strategies for youth and young adults with 
SMHC. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by:
    (i) Identifying or developing, and then evaluating, innovative 
interventions that meet the needs of youth and young adults with SMHC;
    (ii) Involving youth and young adults with SMHC in the processes of 
identifying or developing, and then evaluating, interventions. 
Applicants may also involve family or family surrogates of youth and 
young adults with SMHC, as appropriate; and
    (iii) Including youth and young adults with SMHC who are at 
particular risk for less favorable employment outcomes (e.g., 
unemployment and difficulty maintaining employment). Applicants must 
identify the specific at-risk group or groups of youth and young adults 
with SMHC they propose to study, provide evidence that the selected 
population or populations are at risk for poor employment outcomes, and 
explain how the proposed practices are expected to address the needs of 
the identified population.
    (b) Increased knowledge about workforce participation of youth and 
young adults with SMHC, as well as the service systems and evidence-
based supported practices that enhance positive educational and 
vocational development. In generating this new knowledge, applicants 
should identify one or more specific stages of research. If the RRTC is 
to conduct research that can be categorized under more than one of the 
research stages, or research that progresses from one stage to another, 
those stages should be clearly specified. These research stages and 
their definitions are in the notice of final priorities and definitions 
published in the Federal Register on May 7, 2013 (78 FR 26513).
    (c) Increased capacity of employers, organizations, State agencies, 
and other service providers for youth and young adults with SMHC to 
improve the educational and employment outcomes for youth and young 
adults with SMHC. The RRTC will provide training and technical 
assistance to service providers who work with youth and young adults 
with SMHC.
    (d) New knowledge regarding changes in systems and policies that 
could improve education, career development, and employment for youth 
and young adults with SMHC.
    (e) Serving as a national resource center to:
    (i) Provide information and technical assistance to youth and young 
adults with SMHC, their representatives, and other key stakeholders;
    (ii) Provide training (including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training) and technical assistance to vocational rehabilitation 
providers and other disability service providers to facilitate more 
effective delivery of services to youth and young adults with SMHC. 
This training may be provided through conferences, workshops, public 
education programs, in-service training programs, and similar 
activities;
    (iii) Disseminate research-based information and materials related 
to employment of youth and young adults with SMHC. The applicant must 
describe how it will involve youth and young adults with SMHC in its 
dissemination and outreach activities; and
    (iv) Involve key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted 
under paragraph (a) in order to maximize the relevance and usability of 
the new knowledge generated by the RRTC.

Priority 2--Community Living and Participation for Youth and Young 
Adults With Serious Mental Health Conditions

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority for an RRTC on Community Living and 
Participation for Youth and Young Adults with Serious Mental Health 
Conditions. This RRTC must conduct research that contributes to 
improved community participation for youth and young adults with SMHC.
    For purposes of this priority, the term ``youth and young adults 
with SMHC'' refers to individuals between the ages of 14 and 30, 
inclusive, who have been diagnosed either with serious emotional 
disturbance (for individuals under the age of 18 years) or a serious 
mental illness (for those 18 years of age or older). Under this 
priority, the RRTC must contribute to the following outcomes:
    (a) More effective and developmentally appropriate interventions 
that improve community living and participation outcomes and increase 
capacity to use self-determinations skills and strategies for youth and 
young adults with SMHC. The RRTC must contribute to this outcome by:
    (i) Identifying or developing, and then evaluating, innovative 
interventions that meet the needs of youth and young adults with SMHC;
    (ii) Involving youth and young adults with SMHC in the processes of 
identifying or developing, and then evaluating, interventions. 
Applicants may also involve family or family surrogates of youth and 
young adults with SMHC, as appropriate; and
    (iii) Including youth and young adults with SMHC who are at 
particular risk for less favorable community living and participation 
outcomes (e.g., those with justice system involvement, those in foster 
care, and those with multiple diagnoses). Applicants must identify the 
specific at-risk group or groups of youth and young adults with SMHC 
they propose to study, provide evidence that the selected population or 
populations are at risk for less favorable community living and 
participation outcomes, and explain how the proposed practices are 
expected to address the needs of the identified population.
    (b) Increased capacity of organizations and service providers for 
youth and young adults with SMHC to promote the social and self-
determination skills of youth and young adults with SMHC and help them 
build connections with positive individuals and organizations in their 
communities. The RRTC will provide training and technical assistance to 
service providers who work with youth and young adults with SMHC.
    (c) New knowledge about key systems and policy issues that 
influence decisions about eligibility, effectiveness, structure, 
implementation, and funding

[[Page 42173]]

for programs and initiatives that support community living and 
participation and self-determination in youth and young adults with 
SMHC. In generating this new knowledge, applicants should identify one 
or more specific stages of research. If the RRTC is to conduct research 
that can be categorized under more than one of the research stages, or 
research that progresses from one stage to another, those stages should 
be clearly specified. These research stages and their definitions are 
in the notice of final priorities and definitions published in the 
Federal Register on May 7, 2013 (78 FR 26513).
    (d) Serving as a national resource center related to community 
living and participation and self-determination of youth and young 
adults with SMHC by:
    (i) Providing information and technical assistance to youth and 
young adults with SMHC, their representatives, and other key 
stakeholders;
    (ii) Providing training (including graduate, pre-service, and in-
service training) and technical assistance to service providers to 
facilitate more effective delivery of services to youth and young 
adults with SMHC. This training may be provided through conferences, 
workshops, public education programs, in-service training programs, and 
similar activities;
    (iii) Disseminating research-based information and materials 
related to community living and participation and self-determination of 
youth and young adults with SMHC. The applicant must describe how it 
will involve youth and young adults with SMHC in its dissemination and 
outreach activities; and
    (iv) Involving key stakeholder groups in the activities conducted 
under paragraph (a) in order to maximize the relevance and usability of 
the new knowledge generated by the RRTC.

Types of Priorities

    When inviting applications for a competition using one or more 
priorities, we designate the type of each priority as absolute, 
competitive preference, or invitational through a notice in the Federal 
Register. 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 (1) 
awarding additional points, depending on the extent to which the 
application meets the priority (34 CFR 75.105(c)(2)(i)); or (2) 
selecting an application that meets the 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 priority. 
However, we do not give an application that meets the priority a 
preference over other applications (34 CFR 75.105(c)(1)).
    This notice does not preclude us from proposing additional 
priorities, requirements, definitions, or selection criteria, subject 
to meeting applicable rulemaking requirements.

    Note: This notice does not solicit applications. In any year in 
which we choose to use these priorities, we invite applications 
through a notice in the Federal Register.

Executive Orders 12866 and 13563

Regulatory Impact Analysis

    Under Executive Order 12866, the Secretary must determine whether 
this regulatory action is ``significant'' and, therefore, subject to 
the requirements of the Executive order and subject to review by the 
Office of Management and Budget (OMB). Section 3(f) of Executive Order 
12866 defines a ``significant regulatory action'' as an action likely 
to result in a rule that may--
    (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more, 
or adversely affect a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, 
jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or 
tribal governments or communities in a material way (also referred to 
as an ``economically significant'' rule);
    (2) Create serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an 
action taken or planned by another agency;
    (3) Materially alter the budgetary impacts of entitlement grants, 
user fees, or loan programs or the rights and obligations of recipients 
thereof; or
    (4) Raise novel legal or policy issues arising out of legal 
mandates, the President's priorities, or the principles stated in the 
Executive order.
    This final regulatory action is not a significant regulatory action 
subject to review by OMB under section 3(f) of Executive Order 12866.
    We have also reviewed this final regulatory action under Executive 
Order 13563, which supplements and explicitly reaffirms the principles, 
structures, and definitions governing regulatory review established in 
Executive Order 12866. To the extent permitted by law, Executive Order 
13563 requires that an agency--
    (1) Propose or adopt regulations only upon a reasoned determination 
that their benefits justify their costs (recognizing that some benefits 
and costs are difficult to quantify);
    (2) Tailor its regulations to impose the least burden on society, 
consistent with obtaining regulatory objectives and taking into 
account--among other things and to the extent practicable--the costs of 
cumulative regulations;
    (3) In choosing among alternative regulatory approaches, select 
those approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential 
economic, environmental, public health and safety, and other 
advantages; distributive impacts; and equity);
    (4) To the extent feasible, specify performance objectives, rather 
than the behavior or manner of compliance a regulated entity must 
adopt; and
    (5) Identify and assess available alternatives to direct 
regulation, including economic incentives--such as user fees or 
marketable permits--to encourage the desired behavior, or provide 
information that enables the public to make choices.
    Executive Order 13563 also requires an agency ``to use the best 
available techniques to quantify anticipated present and future 
benefits and costs as accurately as possible.'' The Office of 
Information and Regulatory Affairs of OMB has emphasized that these 
techniques may include ``identifying changing future compliance costs 
that might result from technological innovation or anticipated 
behavioral changes.''
    We are issuing these final priorities only on a reasoned 
determination that their benefits justify their costs. In choosing 
among alternative regulatory approaches, we selected those approaches 
that maximize net benefits. Based on the analysis that follows, the 
Department believes that this regulatory action is consistent with the 
principles in Executive Order 13563.
    We also have determined that this regulatory action does not unduly 
interfere with State, local, and tribal governments in the exercise of 
their governmental functions.
    In accordance with both Executive orders, the Department has 
assessed the potential costs and benefits, both quantitative and 
qualitative, of this regulatory action. The potential costs are those 
resulting from statutory requirements and those we have determined as 
necessary for administering the Department's programs and activities.
    The benefits of the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects 
and Centers Program have been well established over the years, as 
projects similar to the ones envisioned by the

[[Page 42174]]

final priorities have been completed successfully. The new RRTCs will 
generate and promote the use of new knowledge that will improve the 
outcomes for employment and community living and participation for 
youth and young adults with serious mental health conditions.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the program contact person 
listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: 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 via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well 
as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF 
you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the 
site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: July 15, 2014.
Michael K. Yudin,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 2014-16995 Filed 7-17-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P