Final Priorities; Rehabilitation Services Administration-Capacity Building Program for Traditionally Underserved Populations-Vocational Rehabilitation Training Institute for the Preparation of Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Projects, 47579-47585 [2014-19285]

Download as PDF rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 157 / Thursday, August 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations (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 set forth 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 this final priority only on a reasoned determination that its benefits justify its costs. In choosing among alternative regulatory VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:59 Aug 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 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. 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. Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202–2550. Telephone: (202) 245– 7363. If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1–800–877–8339. 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. PO 00000 Frm 00029 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 47579 Dated: August 11, 2014. Michael K. Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. [FR Doc. 2014–19289 Filed 8–13–14; 8:45 am] BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION 34 CFR Chapter III [Docket ID ED–2014–OSERS–0024; CFDA Number: 84.315C.] Final Priorities; Rehabilitation Services Administration—Capacity Building Program for Traditionally Underserved Populations—Vocational Rehabilitation Training Institute for the Preparation of Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Projects Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Department of Education. ACTION: Final priorities. AGENCY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services announces two priorities under the Capacity Building Program for Traditionally Underserved Populations administered by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The Assistant Secretary may use one or more of these priorities for competitions in fiscal year (FY) 2014 and later years. Priority 1 establishes a new vocational rehabilitation (VR) training institute for the preparation of personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) projects (the Institute). Priority 2 requires a partnership between a four-year institution of higher education (IHE) and a two-year community college or tribal college. This partnership is designed to successfully implement the VR training Institute established in Priority 1. In addition, the partnership agreement required under Priority 2 provides a brief description of how the partnership will be managed, the partners’ roles and responsibilities and a strategy for sustaining the partnership after the Federal investment ends. DATES: Effective Date: These priorities are effective September 15, 2014. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristen Rhinehart-Fernandez, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5027, Potomac Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202–2800. Telephone: (202) 245–6103 or by email: kristen.rhinehart@ed.gov. If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text SUMMARY: E:\FR\FM\14AUR1.SGM 14AUR1 47580 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 157 / Thursday, August 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1–800–877– 8339. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of Program: The Capacity Building Program for Traditionally Underserved Populations under section 21(b)(2)(C) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Rehabilitation Act) (29 U.S.C. 718(b)(2)(C)), provides outreach and technical assistance (TA) to minority entities and American Indian tribes to promote their participation in activities funded under the Rehabilitation Act, including assistance to enhance their capacity to carry out such activities. rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES Program Authority: 29 U.S.C. 718(b)(2)(C). We published a notice of proposed priorities for this competition in the Federal Register on June 11, 2014 (79 FR 33486). That notice contained background information and our reasons for proposing the particular priorities. Public Comment: In response to our invitation for public comment in the notice of proposed priorities, 10 parties submitted comments. We group major issues according to subject. Generally, we do not address technical and other minor changes. In addition, we do not address comments that raised concerns not directly related to the proposed priorities. There are differences between the proposed priorities and these final priorities as discussed under Analysis of Comments and Changes. We made several changes to strengthen and clarify the priorities. Specifically, the revised priorities require the Institute to consult with appropriate and relevant entities in developing and providing training and TA to AIVRS projects; ensure that all materials developed reflect the AIVRS target population and diversity among its communities to the maximum extent possible; provide training through a variety of delivery methods so as not to exclude any participants and to meet the needs of the particular community served to the maximum extent possible; and ensure that training focused on effective communication with business reflects the marketplace of tribal communities. Further, we clarify the Institute’s role, the target audience for this project, and the requirements for awarding a VR certificate. Finally, we substantially revise Priority 2 in order to clarify its purpose, requirements, and intended outcomes, and how applicants are to respond to this priority in the application. Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and of any changes in the priorities since publication of the notice of proposed priorities follows. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:59 Aug 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 Comment: A number of commenters recognized the work of the Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR) and its TA project currently funded by RSA, Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Continuous Improvement for Rehabilitation Counselors, Leaders, and Educators (TVR-Circle). Commenters suggested that, for the Institute to be effective, those already working, or with significant experience, in the field of tribal VR should be involved in the development of the curriculum for this project as well as in making decisions regarding methods of delivering the curriculum. Commenters suggested that a Native American-led entity with a national focus, such as CANAR, should serve as the lead consultant for the Institute. Discussion: We agree that CANAR’s TVR Circle currently serves as a valuable resource not only in understanding cultural competencies, but also in providing TA, organizational development, and educational training activities that are focused on the needs of AIVRS projects. Priority 1 does not require a lead entity or consultant for this project, other than the Institute. Priority 1 requires the Institute to conduct outreach activities and consult with appropriate and relevant entities in developing and providing training and TA to AIVRS projects. Changes: We added language to the introductory paragraph of Priority 1 to clarify the role of the Institute, which includes conducting outreach activities and consulting with appropriate and relevant entities in developing and providing training and TA to AIVRS projects. Comment: Several commenters emphasized the need for greater focus on the inclusion of cultural competencies within the priorities. Specifically, commenters stated that the Institute must ensure that its products, curriculum, and deliverables reflect the AIVRS target population, especially the diversity among American Indian and Native Alaskan communities. In addition, commenters noted that an understanding of how to deliver VR services within a particular cultural context is a critical component of the AIVRS program. Discussion: Priority 1 requires the Institute to develop a structured program of training in a culturally appropriate manner. Priority 1 also states that the Institute must provide culturally relevant training that goes beyond technical compliance with the program statute and regulations applicable to the AIVRS program (Section 121 of the Rehabilitation Act, PO 00000 Frm 00030 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 34 CFR parts 369 and 371, and EDGAR). However, we believe that this priority should also specify that the products, curriculum, and deliverables must also reflect the AIVRS target population. Change: We added a sentence to the introductory paragraph of Priority 1 to emphasize the importance of reflecting the AIVRS target population and diversity among its communities in all materials developed by the Institute to the maximum extent possible. Comment: A commenter requested clarification as to whether the TA mentioned in Priority 1, paragraph (e), which requires the applicant to identify innovative methods and strategies for supporting AIVRS personnel when they have completed their training, and the TA mentioned in Priority 1, paragraph (g), which requires applicants to describe a plan to provide follow-up TA, either virtually or on-site to participants, applies to AIVRS projects seeking TA or only to participants who received training through the Institute. Discussion: It is important to distinguish between TA to be provided by the Institute and TA currently provided by the TVR Circle. The followup TA described in paragraphs (e) and (g) of Priority 1 states that it is for participants who have completed the structured program of training delivered by the Institute. The target audience for this structured program of training is AIVRS project personnel with little or no experience in VR processes and practices. By contrast, the TA provided by the TVR Circle is intended to improve the performance of AIVRS grantees that are determined to be ‘‘at risk’’ by the Department. Because both paragraphs (e) and (g) describe the follow-up as occurring only after successful completion of the structured program of training, we believe the priority is clear as written. Change: None. Comment: Several commenters recommended a diverse model for delivering the structured program of training to meet the needs of the target audience. Some commenters raised a concern that many AIVRS projects are located in rural and remote communities that present challenges to providing in-person training. In addition, commenters stated that, although web-based training is cost effective, it may not be the best option for all projects, as reliable Internet access may not be available in many tribal communities. Commenters suggested different methods of offering training such as on-line, in a traditional classroom setting, or at regional trainings throughout the country as an extension of national conferences. In E:\FR\FM\14AUR1.SGM 14AUR1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 157 / Thursday, August 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations addition, commenters suggested that grant funds be used to cover the costs of participant travel in order to ensure that AIVRS project funds are used for program services. Discussion: We agree that training should be offered through a variety of delivery methods so as not to exclude any participants and to meet the needs of the particular community served as much as possible. Priority 1, as proposed, stated that the series of trainings may be offered in person, through distance learning, or through a combination of the two. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), and government-wide requirements, including applicable Office of Management and Budget (OMB) cost principles, provides general guidance regarding costs and cost-related issues and requirements related to travel. The cost principles do not preclude grant funds from being used to offset costs associated with travel, such as transportation or lodging. However, we want to stress that travel expenses must be reasonable and should be used to ensure that AIVRS project personnel located in remote areas of the country are able to participate in the Institute. Change: In order to adequately address that the training should be offered through a variety of delivery methods, we added language in the introductory paragraph in Priority 1 to clarify that training may be offered in a traditional classroom setting, through distance learning, through week-long institutes, at regional trainings throughout the country as an extension of national conferences, and through other delivery methods, as appropriate, to meet the needs of the targeted audience. We also revised Priority 1 to specify that grant funds may be used to provide reasonable financial assistance to offset costs associated with travel for participants who may be located in remote areas of the country. Comment: Some commenters asked whether RSA intends for the Institute to award an academic certificate or a nonacademic certificate. Commenters indicated that an academic certificate is transferable to an Associate of Arts degree, an undergraduate degree, or a graduate degree, while a non-academic certificate may impart knowledge, skills, and abilities but will not benefit the AIVRS personnel in furthering their academic credentials and professional credibility. Discussion: Priority 1 does not distinguish between an academic and a non-academic certificate. It is our intent that a VR certificate, academic or nonacademic, represent more than VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:59 Aug 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 successful completion of the program. The VR certificate demonstrates that a participant has received the foundational VR knowledge and skills in the provision of VR services and is able to provide appropriate, effective, and culturally relevant VR services to American Indians with disabilities to prepare for, and engage in, gainful employment consistent with their informed choice. A VR certificate could be used by participants to further their pursuit of a post-secondary degree. For example, an applicant could propose to award college credit to a participant who meets the requirements and criteria established for a VR certificate, which may then be used by the participant to support an application to a four-year IHE that offers an undergraduate degree in VR counseling. However, it is up to the applicant to determine whether the Institute will award an academic or nonacademic certificate. Further, the applicant must establish requirements and criteria for obtaining the VR certificate and define how the certificate may be used by participants, if desired, to pursue an advanced degree. Change: In order to clarify the purpose of a VR certificate, we added language to the introductory paragraph of Priority 1 to clarify that the Institute may determine whether the VR certificate awarded will be academic or non-academic, the requirements for obtaining such a certificate, and how the certificate may be used by participants who earn it. Comment: Commenters raised concerns regarding excessively high unemployment and an overall lack of industry in many tribal communities and how those issues may affect the training topic specified in Priority 1 to focus on effective communication with business. Commenters suggested that the content in this topic be expanded to include approaches for developing relationships and working with entrepreneurs, small businesses, and cooperative businesses that may offer emerging employment opportunities for tribal members with disabilities. Discussion: We recognize the commenters’ concerns related to high unemployment and accept their proposed suggestions for expanding the topic focused on effective communication with business to include working with entrepreneurs, small businesses, and cooperative businesses. Change: In order to ensure that the training module titled ‘‘Effective Communication with Business’’ is an accurate representation of the marketplace in tribal communities, we expanded the first sentence of Priority 1, PO 00000 Frm 00031 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 47581 paragraph (a)(3), to include all types of businesses, especially entrepreneurs, small businesses, and cooperative businesses that may offer employment opportunities for tribal members with disabilities. Comment: None. Discussion: In our own review of the priorities, it became apparent that paragraph (h)(4) of Priority 1 is unclear and that the language in that paragraph does not meaningfully add to the requirements for the priority. Therefore, we are removing this language. Change: In Priority 1, paragraph (h)(4) is removed. Therefore, paragraph (h)(5) in Priority 1 is renumbered as paragraph (h)(4). Comment: A few commenters requested clarification regarding whether Priority 2 is a subset of Priority 1 and whether applicants will be required to meet both priorities. Discussion: We believe that the Institute, as proposed, must be developed and delivered through collaboration between a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal college. We believe that the priorities, as written, are clear. Change: None. Comment: A few commenters requested clarification regarding Priority 2, which, as proposed, requires collaboration between a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal college. Commenters inquired as to whether other partners, in addition to a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal college, could be involved in a collaboration agreement. Discussion: In Priority 2, as proposed, we require collaboration between a fouryear IHE and a two-year community college or tribal college. The collaboration may be expanded to include other relevant partners to support the goals and expected outcomes of this project, such as a business. However, the collaboration must include, at a minimum, a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal college. We believe that the priority is clear as written. Change: None. Comment: None. Discussion: In our own review of the priorities and the comments we received, it became clear that applicants could benefit from additional details and clarification about our requirements in Priority 2. Therefore, we revised the priority to clarify its purpose, requirements, intended outcomes, and how applicants are to respond to the priority. First, the purpose of Priority 2 is to require a partnership between a four-year IHE and a two-year E:\FR\FM\14AUR1.SGM 14AUR1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES 47582 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 157 / Thursday, August 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations community college or tribal college to effectively implement the requirements of Priority 1. We believe that community colleges or tribal colleges are uniquely suited to provide the type of customized instruction necessary to meet the requirements of Priority 1. In addition, the involvement of a four-year IHE will improve the instruction by providing access to faculty who possess a breadth of knowledge and experience in the field of VR. Therefore, applicants will respond to Priority 2 by demonstrating, in the narrative portion of their application, that the Institute reflects a collaboration of knowledge, experience, skills, faculty, curriculum, resources, and technology between a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal college in order to deliver a high-quality structured program of training on foundational VR knowledge and skills in a culturally appropriate manner. Second, Priority 2, as proposed, was written to require collaboration between a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal college. We replaced the term ‘‘collaboration’’ in the proposed priority with the term ‘‘partnership’’ in the final priority in order to better reflect the type of relationship that we intended between the four-year IHE and the two-year community college or tribal college. In addition, Priority 2, as proposed, was written to require a formal agreement between a four-year IHE and a two-year community or tribal college. We replaced the term ‘‘formal agreement’’ with the term ‘‘partnership agreement’’ in order to better reflect the purpose of the priority. In Priority 2, the partnership agreement is required to be submitted in addition to the narrative portion of the application. Third, Priority 2, as proposed, would have given the Secretary discretion to require the formal agreement to include the signatures of the president and chief financial officer from the four-year IHE and the two-year community college or tribal college. However, after review, we concluded that it is essential that the partnership agreement contain the signatures of the president and chief financial officer of both parties, and we make this a mandatory component of the agreement. In addition, we concluded that the remaining four elements of the agreement are also critical to ensuring that the partnership is able to effectively implement the requirements in Priority 1 and meet the goal of the Institute. Therefore, the partnership agreement described in Priority 2 must contain all four components, three of which we revised VerDate Mar<15>2010 16:58 Aug 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 to clarify and streamline the applications. Finally, a component in Priority 2, as proposed, required the formal agreement to include in-kind or financial contributions from both parties. However, because there are no matching requirements in this program, we revised this component to make clear that these contributions are not required. Another component in Priority 2, as proposed, required the formal agreement to include a plan to sustain the partnership after the Federal investment ends. We revised this requirement for the partnership agreement in the final priority to require applicants to provide a brief strategy to sustain the partnership after the Federal investment ends. Change: Priority 2 is revised to clarify the requirements for the partnership between a four-year IHE and two-year community college or tribal college, including its objective of delivering a high-quality structured program of training on foundational VR knowledge and skills in a culturally appropriate manner. Priority 2 also is revised to require a partnership agreement, which must be signed by the president and chief financial officer of both parties. The required partnership agreement must include a brief description of how the partnership will operate each year during the five-year grant period of performance. The agreement must also describe how information regarding the progress of the grant, as well as any issues and challenges, will be communicated; what steps will be taken to resolve conflicts; the roles, responsibilities, and deliverables of each party; and the arrangements, if any, for supporting the program with resources, that are not paid for by the award; and include a brief strategy to sustain the partnership and the structured training program after the Federal investment ends. Final Priorities Priority 1: Vocational Rehabilitation Training Institute for the Preparation of Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services Projects The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services establishes a priority to support one Institute under section 21(b)(2)(C) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended—the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Training Institute for the Preparation of Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) Projects (the Institute). The Institute will provide a structured PO 00000 Frm 00032 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 program of training in vocational rehabilitation (VR) to current personnel of the AIVRS projects to improve the delivery of VR services to American Indians with disabilities. The Institute will conduct outreach activities and consult with appropriate and relevant entities in developing and providing training and TA to AIVRS projects. All products, curricula, and deliverables developed by the Institute must reflect the AIVRS population and diversity among its communities to the maximum extent possible. The Institute will consist of a series of trainings specifically geared towards building foundational skills that, when satisfactorily completed, will lead to a VR certificate awarded by the Institute. The Institute may determine whether the VR certificate awarded will be academic or non-academic, the requirements for obtaining such a certificate, and how the certificate may be used by participants who earn it. The series of trainings may be offered in a traditional classroom setting, through distance learning, through week-long institutes, at regional trainings throughout the country as an extension of national conferences, and through other delivery methods, as appropriate, to meet the needs of the targeted audience. In addition, grant funds may be used to provide reasonable financial assistance to offset costs associated with travel for participants who may be located in remote areas of the country. The Institute will conduct an assessment before and after providing training for each participant in order to assess strengths and specific areas for improvement, educational attainment and application of skills, and any issues or challenges to be addressed posttraining to ensure improved delivery of VR services to American Indians with disabilities. The Institute will provide follow-up TA to participants to address any issues or challenges that are identified post-training and to ensure that the training they received is applied effectively in their work setting. Finally, the Institute will conduct an evaluation to obtain feedback on the training and follow-up TA and to determine whether this improvement contributed to increased employment outcomes for American Indians with disabilities. The Department will award this grant as a cooperative agreement to ensure that there is substantial involvement (i.e., significant communication and collaboration) between RSA and the grantee in carrying out the activities of the program (34 CFR 75.200(b)(4)). In coordination with the Department, the Institute must, in a culturally appropriate manner: E:\FR\FM\14AUR1.SGM 14AUR1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 157 / Thursday, August 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations (a) Develop a structured program of training on foundational VR knowledge and skills that will lead to AIVRS personnel earning a VR certificate. The training would include, at a minimum: vocational assessment, determination of applicant eligibility, development of an individualized plan for employment (IPE), the acquisition and use of assistive technology, and obtaining and using up-to-date labor market information to understand the local economy and effectively match the skills of AIVRS consumers with the needs of employers. The Institute must provide culturally relevant training that goes beyond technical compliance with the program statute and regulations applicable to the AIVRS program (Section 121 of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR Parts 369 and 371, and EDGAR) and focuses on providing the basic foundational skills necessary to improve counseling and VR services provided by AIVRS personnel. The training topics must include, at a minimum: (1) Introduction to VR: An orientation to the field of VR, addressing in general terms the various disabilities a VR counselor is apt to encounter working in an AIVRS project. The training developed by the Institute must teach AIVRS personnel to understand the nature of a significant disability and the complexities a person with such a disability experiences and must teach how various disabilities affect an individual’s ability to participate in competitive employment; (2) Effective communication with AIVRS consumers including: Identification of approaches to, techniques for, and relevant examples of developing trust and rapport with individuals with a disability; appropriate conduct when engaging with individuals with a disability; and interacting with members of the tribal council; (3) Effective communication with business including: Identification of approaches to, techniques for, and relevant examples of building and maintaining relationships with all types of businesses, especially entrepreneurs, small businesses, and cooperative businesses that may offer emerging employment opportunities for tribal members with disabilities. This training topic includes educating potential employers about how reasonable accommodations and assistive technology can be used to support effectively the employment of individuals with disabilities. The Institute must also teach participants how to obtain accurate labor market information on available employment opportunities in their State and local VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:59 Aug 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 area, and how to identify education, technical requirements, and necessary skill sets for the jobs available; (4) Conducting a vocational assessment and determining eligibility: How to obtain and evaluate necessary medical and other documentation and the results of assessments that may have been conducted by entities other than the AIVRS project. The Institute must teach AIVRS personnel how to use appropriate assessment tools that assist in determining an individual’s eligibility for VR services and in developing an IPE; (5) Managing caseload: How to manage cases so that information can be retrieved and communicated to the AIVRS consumer in a timely manner. The Institute must teach AIVRS personnel how to create, manage, and appropriately close consumer case files; (6) Development of an IPE: How to plan and provide VR services that lead to meaningful employment opportunities that are at appropriate skill levels and consistent with the consumer’s abilities, interests, and informed choice; and (7) Development of job-seeking skills: Identification of approaches to, techniques for, and relevant examples of improving job-seeking skills. This includes resume preparation, practicing interview skills, networking, navigating job sites, targeting job searches, and other effective skills that will lead to job placement for AIVRS consumers. (b) Develop a course syllabus that describes the proposed sequence of topical training. (c) Develop a training module for one of the seven topics in paragraph (a) to serve as an example for how participants will be trained in that area. (d) Develop a recruitment and retention plan that describes how the Institute will conduct outreach activities and recruitment efforts to enroll current AIVRS personnel in the Institute. Current AIVRS staff may nominate themselves or be nominated by the AIVRS project director to participate in the Institute. The plan must also describe how the Institute will provide academic support and counseling for AIVRS personnel to ensure successful completion, as well as steps that will be taken to provide assistance to AIVRS personnel who are not performing to their fullest potential in the Institute’s structured program of training. (e) Identify innovative methods and strategies for supporting AIVRS personnel when they have completed the training, including a plan for maintaining regular contact with AIVRS personnel upon successful completion of the structured program of training PO 00000 Frm 00033 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 47583 and providing follow-up TA on various situations and settings encountered by AIVRS personnel in working with American Indians with disabilities, as well as TA on effective programmatic and fiscal management of an AIVRS project. (f) Develop an assessment tool for use by the Institute before and after the training. The assessment must identify the strengths and specific areas in which participants need to improve prior to the beginning of the training. In addition, 90 days after the training is completed, the assessment must evaluate the attainment of skills, demonstrated application of those skill sets, and any issues or challenges for participating AIVRS personnel that may impact improved delivery of VR services to American Indians with disabilities. The Institute must administer the assessment tool and provide a copy to participants. The Institute must also ensure that the results are reviewed with participating AIVRS personnel and shared with their respective Directors. (g) Describe a plan to provide followup TA, either virtually or on-site, to participants. The purpose is to ensure that the training that AIVRS personnel received is applied effectively in their work settings and addresses any issues or challenges identified as a result of the assessment that is conducted 90 days after the training is completed. (h) Describe how the Institute will be evaluated. Such a description must include: (1) How the Institute will determine its impact over a period of time on improving the delivery of VR services to American Indians with disabilities and increasing employment outcomes; (2) How input from AIVRS project directors will be included in the evaluation; (3) How feedback from American Indians with disabilities will be included in the evaluation; (4) How the data and results from the evaluation will be used to make necessary adjustments and improvements to AIVRS projects and training of AIVRS personnel. Priority 2: Partnership Between a FourYear Institution of Higher Education and a Two-Year Community College or Tribal College Applicants will demonstrate, in the narrative portion of their application, that the Institute reflects a collaboration of knowledge, experience, skills, faculty, curricula resources, and technology between a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal college in order to deliver a high-quality E:\FR\FM\14AUR1.SGM 14AUR1 rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES 47584 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 157 / Thursday, August 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations structured program of training on foundational VR knowledge and skills in a culturally appropriate manner. Applicants are required to submit a partnership agreement, in addition to the narrative portion of their application. The partnership agreement must be signed by the president and chief financial officer of both parties. Applicants must include a brief description in the partnership agreement of how the partnership will operate each year during the five-year grant period of performance. Applicants must also summarize in the agreement how information regarding the progress of the grant, as well as any issues and challenges, will be communicated; what steps will be taken to resolve conflicts; the roles, responsibilities, and deliverables of each party; and the arrangements, if any, for supporting the program with resources, that are not paid for by the award. Finally, applicants must provide a brief strategy in the agreement to sustain the partnership and the structured training program after the Federal investment ends. 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. VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:59 Aug 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 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 PO 00000 Frm 00034 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 (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 final 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, projects, and activities. Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79, unless the applicant is a federally recognized Indian tribe. 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. Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the Grants and Contracts Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202–2550. Telephone: (202) 245– E:\FR\FM\14AUR1.SGM 14AUR1 Federal Register / Vol. 79, No. 157 / Thursday, August 14, 2014 / Rules and Regulations 7363. If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1–800–877–8339. 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: August 11, 2014. Michael K. Yudin, Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative Services. BILLING CODE 4000–01–P DEPARTMENT OF VETERANS AFFAIRS 38 CFR Part 3 RIN 2900–AO84 Specially Adapted Housing Eligibility for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis Beneficiaries Department of Veterans Affairs. Final rule. AGENCY: The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) amended by interim final rule its adjudication regulation regarding specially adapted housing (SAH) to authorize automatic issuance of a certificate of eligibility for SAH to all veterans and active-duty servicemembers with service-connected amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) rated totally disabling under the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities. This document adopts as a final rule, without change, the interim final rule published in the Federal Register on December 3, 2013. DATES: Effective date: August 14, 2014. Applicability date: The provisions of this regulatory amendment apply to all applications for SAH pending before VA on or received after December 3, 2013. FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Randy A. McKevitt, Legal Consultant, rmajette on DSK2TPTVN1PROD with RULES SUMMARY: VerDate Mar<15>2010 14:59 Aug 13, 2014 Jkt 232001 In a document published in the Federal Register on December 3, 2013 (78 FR 72573), VA amended its regulations concerning SAH. The amendment authorized automatic issuance of a certificate of eligibility for SAH to all veterans and active-duty servicemembers with service-connected ALS rated totally disabling under the VA Schedule for Rating Disabilities. The comment period for that interim final regulation ended February 3, 2014. VA received no comments. Based on the rationale set forth in the interim final rule, we are adopting the provisions of the interim final rule as a final rule without change. SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Administrative Procedure Act [FR Doc. 2014–19285 Filed 8–13–14; 8:45 am] ACTION: Regulations Staff (211D), Compensation Service, Veterans Benefits Administration, Department of Veterans Affairs, 810 Vermont Avenue NW., Washington, DC 20420, (202) 461–9700. This is not a toll-free number. Pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 553(b)(B) and (d)(3), VA found that there was good cause to dispense with advance public notice and opportunity to comment on the interim final rule and good cause to publish that rule with an immediate effective date. The interim final rule was necessary to implement immediately the Secretary’s decision to establish SAH eligibility for all persons with totallydisabling service-connected ALS. Delay in the implementation of this rule would have been impracticable and contrary to the public interest, particularly to veterans and active-duty servicemembers. Because the survival period for persons suffering from ALS is generally 18–48 months or less from the onset of symptoms, any delay in establishing SAH eligibility is extremely detrimental to veterans and active-duty servicemembers who are currently afflicted with ALS. Any delay in implementation until after a publiccomment period could have delayed modifying the regulated certificate of eligibility process, depriving ALS veterans and active-duty servicemembers of quick and efficient access to SAH benefits. For the foregoing reasons, the Secretary issued the rule as an interim final rule with immediate effect. Paperwork Reduction Act This final rule contains no provisions constituting a collection of information under the Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995 (44 U.S.C. 3501–3521). PO 00000 Frm 00035 Fmt 4700 Sfmt 4700 47585 Regulatory Flexibility Act The Secretary hereby certifies that this final rule will not have a significant economic impact on a substantial number of small entities as they are defined in the Regulatory Flexibility Act, 5 U.S.C. 601–612. This final rule will not affect any small entities. Only VA beneficiaries will be directly affected. Therefore, pursuant to 5 U.S.C. 605(b), this final rule is exempt from the initial and final regulatory flexibility analysis requirements of sections 603 and 604. Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 Executive Orders 12866 and 13563 direct agencies to assess the costs and benefits of available regulatory alternatives and, when regulation is necessary, to select regulatory approaches that maximize net benefits (including potential economic, environmental, public health and safety effects, and other advantages; distributive impacts; and equity). Executive Order 13563 (Improving Regulation and Regulatory Review) emphasizes the importance of quantifying both costs and benefits, reducing costs, harmonizing rules, and promoting flexibility. Executive Order 12866 (Regulatory Planning and Review) defines a ‘‘significant regulatory action,’’ which requires review by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), as ‘‘any regulatory action that is likely to result in a rule that may: (1) Have an annual effect on the economy of $100 million or more or adversely affect in a material way the economy, a sector of the economy, productivity, competition, jobs, the environment, public health or safety, or State, local, or tribal governments or communities; (2) Create a serious inconsistency or otherwise interfere with an action taken or planned by another agency; (3) Materially alter the budgetary impact of entitlements, 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 set forth in this Executive Order.’’ The economic, interagency, budgetary, legal, and policy implications of this final rule have been examined, and it has been determined not to be a significant regulatory action under Executive Order 12866. VA’s impact analysis can be found as a supporting document at http:// www.regulations.gov, usually within 48 hours after the rulemaking document is published. Additionally, a copy of the rulemaking and its impact analysis are E:\FR\FM\14AUR1.SGM 14AUR1

Agencies

[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 157 (Thursday, August 14, 2014)]
[Rules and Regulations]
[Pages 47579-47585]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-19285]


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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Chapter III

[Docket ID ED-2014-OSERS-0024; CFDA Number: 84.315C.]


Final Priorities; Rehabilitation Services Administration--
Capacity Building Program for Traditionally Underserved Populations--
Vocational Rehabilitation Training Institute for the Preparation of 
Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services 
Projects

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

ACTION: Final priorities.

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

SUMMARY: The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and 
Rehabilitative Services announces two priorities under the Capacity 
Building Program for Traditionally Underserved Populations administered 
by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). The Assistant 
Secretary may use one or more of these priorities for competitions in 
fiscal year (FY) 2014 and later years. Priority 1 establishes a new 
vocational rehabilitation (VR) training institute for the preparation 
of personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services 
(AIVRS) projects (the Institute). Priority 2 requires a partnership 
between a four-year institution of higher education (IHE) and a two-
year community college or tribal college. This partnership is designed 
to successfully implement the VR training Institute established in 
Priority 1. In addition, the partnership agreement required under 
Priority 2 provides a brief description of how the partnership will be 
managed, the partners' roles and responsibilities and a strategy for 
sustaining the partnership after the Federal investment ends.

DATES: Effective Date: These priorities are effective September 15, 
2014.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Kristen Rhinehart-Fernandez, U.S. 
Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5027, Potomac 
Center Plaza (PCP), Washington, DC 20202-2800. Telephone: (202) 245-
6103 or by email: kristen.rhinehart@ed.gov.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text

[[Page 47580]]

telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: Purpose of Program: The Capacity Building 
Program for Traditionally Underserved Populations under section 
21(b)(2)(C) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended 
(Rehabilitation Act) (29 U.S.C. 718(b)(2)(C)), provides outreach and 
technical assistance (TA) to minority entities and American Indian 
tribes to promote their participation in activities funded under the 
Rehabilitation Act, including assistance to enhance their capacity to 
carry out such activities.

    Program Authority:  29 U.S.C. 718(b)(2)(C).

    We published a notice of proposed priorities for this competition 
in the Federal Register on June 11, 2014 (79 FR 33486). That notice 
contained background information and our reasons for proposing the 
particular priorities.
    Public Comment: In response to our invitation for public comment in 
the notice of proposed priorities, 10 parties submitted comments.
    We group major issues according to subject. Generally, we do not 
address technical and other minor changes. In addition, we do not 
address comments that raised concerns not directly related to the 
proposed priorities.
    There are differences between the proposed priorities and these 
final priorities as discussed under Analysis of Comments and Changes. 
We made several changes to strengthen and clarify the priorities. 
Specifically, the revised priorities require the Institute to consult 
with appropriate and relevant entities in developing and providing 
training and TA to AIVRS projects; ensure that all materials developed 
reflect the AIVRS target population and diversity among its communities 
to the maximum extent possible; provide training through a variety of 
delivery methods so as not to exclude any participants and to meet the 
needs of the particular community served to the maximum extent 
possible; and ensure that training focused on effective communication 
with business reflects the marketplace of tribal communities. Further, 
we clarify the Institute's role, the target audience for this project, 
and the requirements for awarding a VR certificate. Finally, we 
substantially revise Priority 2 in order to clarify its purpose, 
requirements, and intended outcomes, and how applicants are to respond 
to this priority in the application.
    Analysis of Comments and Changes: An analysis of the comments and 
of any changes in the priorities since publication of the notice of 
proposed priorities follows.
    Comment: A number of commenters recognized the work of the 
Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation (CANAR) 
and its TA project currently funded by RSA, Tribal Vocational 
Rehabilitation Continuous Improvement for Rehabilitation Counselors, 
Leaders, and Educators (TVR-Circle). Commenters suggested that, for the 
Institute to be effective, those already working, or with significant 
experience, in the field of tribal VR should be involved in the 
development of the curriculum for this project as well as in making 
decisions regarding methods of delivering the curriculum. Commenters 
suggested that a Native American-led entity with a national focus, such 
as CANAR, should serve as the lead consultant for the Institute.
    Discussion: We agree that CANAR's TVR Circle currently serves as a 
valuable resource not only in understanding cultural competencies, but 
also in providing TA, organizational development, and educational 
training activities that are focused on the needs of AIVRS projects. 
Priority 1 does not require a lead entity or consultant for this 
project, other than the Institute. Priority 1 requires the Institute to 
conduct outreach activities and consult with appropriate and relevant 
entities in developing and providing training and TA to AIVRS projects.
    Changes: We added language to the introductory paragraph of 
Priority 1 to clarify the role of the Institute, which includes 
conducting outreach activities and consulting with appropriate and 
relevant entities in developing and providing training and TA to AIVRS 
projects.
    Comment: Several commenters emphasized the need for greater focus 
on the inclusion of cultural competencies within the priorities. 
Specifically, commenters stated that the Institute must ensure that its 
products, curriculum, and deliverables reflect the AIVRS target 
population, especially the diversity among American Indian and Native 
Alaskan communities. In addition, commenters noted that an 
understanding of how to deliver VR services within a particular 
cultural context is a critical component of the AIVRS program.
    Discussion: Priority 1 requires the Institute to develop a 
structured program of training in a culturally appropriate manner. 
Priority 1 also states that the Institute must provide culturally 
relevant training that goes beyond technical compliance with the 
program statute and regulations applicable to the AIVRS program 
(Section 121 of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR parts 369 and 371, and 
EDGAR). However, we believe that this priority should also specify that 
the products, curriculum, and deliverables must also reflect the AIVRS 
target population.
    Change: We added a sentence to the introductory paragraph of 
Priority 1 to emphasize the importance of reflecting the AIVRS target 
population and diversity among its communities in all materials 
developed by the Institute to the maximum extent possible.
    Comment: A commenter requested clarification as to whether the TA 
mentioned in Priority 1, paragraph (e), which requires the applicant to 
identify innovative methods and strategies for supporting AIVRS 
personnel when they have completed their training, and the TA mentioned 
in Priority 1, paragraph (g), which requires applicants to describe a 
plan to provide follow-up TA, either virtually or on-site to 
participants, applies to AIVRS projects seeking TA or only to 
participants who received training through the Institute.
    Discussion: It is important to distinguish between TA to be 
provided by the Institute and TA currently provided by the TVR Circle. 
The follow-up TA described in paragraphs (e) and (g) of Priority 1 
states that it is for participants who have completed the structured 
program of training delivered by the Institute. The target audience for 
this structured program of training is AIVRS project personnel with 
little or no experience in VR processes and practices. By contrast, the 
TA provided by the TVR Circle is intended to improve the performance of 
AIVRS grantees that are determined to be ``at risk'' by the Department. 
Because both paragraphs (e) and (g) describe the follow-up as occurring 
only after successful completion of the structured program of training, 
we believe the priority is clear as written.
    Change: None.
    Comment: Several commenters recommended a diverse model for 
delivering the structured program of training to meet the needs of the 
target audience. Some commenters raised a concern that many AIVRS 
projects are located in rural and remote communities that present 
challenges to providing in-person training. In addition, commenters 
stated that, although web-based training is cost effective, it may not 
be the best option for all projects, as reliable Internet access may 
not be available in many tribal communities. Commenters suggested 
different methods of offering training such as on-line, in a 
traditional classroom setting, or at regional trainings throughout the 
country as an extension of national conferences. In

[[Page 47581]]

addition, commenters suggested that grant funds be used to cover the 
costs of participant travel in order to ensure that AIVRS project funds 
are used for program services.
    Discussion: We agree that training should be offered through a 
variety of delivery methods so as not to exclude any participants and 
to meet the needs of the particular community served as much as 
possible. Priority 1, as proposed, stated that the series of trainings 
may be offered in person, through distance learning, or through a 
combination of the two. In addition, the U.S. Department of Education 
General Administrative Regulations (EDGAR), and government-wide 
requirements, including applicable Office of Management and Budget 
(OMB) cost principles, provides general guidance regarding costs and 
cost-related issues and requirements related to travel. The cost 
principles do not preclude grant funds from being used to offset costs 
associated with travel, such as transportation or lodging. However, we 
want to stress that travel expenses must be reasonable and should be 
used to ensure that AIVRS project personnel located in remote areas of 
the country are able to participate in the Institute.
    Change: In order to adequately address that the training should be 
offered through a variety of delivery methods, we added language in the 
introductory paragraph in Priority 1 to clarify that training may be 
offered in a traditional classroom setting, through distance learning, 
through week-long institutes, at regional trainings throughout the 
country as an extension of national conferences, and through other 
delivery methods, as appropriate, to meet the needs of the targeted 
audience. We also revised Priority 1 to specify that grant funds may be 
used to provide reasonable financial assistance to offset costs 
associated with travel for participants who may be located in remote 
areas of the country.
    Comment: Some commenters asked whether RSA intends for the 
Institute to award an academic certificate or a non-academic 
certificate. Commenters indicated that an academic certificate is 
transferable to an Associate of Arts degree, an undergraduate degree, 
or a graduate degree, while a non-academic certificate may impart 
knowledge, skills, and abilities but will not benefit the AIVRS 
personnel in furthering their academic credentials and professional 
credibility.
    Discussion: Priority 1 does not distinguish between an academic and 
a non-academic certificate. It is our intent that a VR certificate, 
academic or non-academic, represent more than successful completion of 
the program. The VR certificate demonstrates that a participant has 
received the foundational VR knowledge and skills in the provision of 
VR services and is able to provide appropriate, effective, and 
culturally relevant VR services to American Indians with disabilities 
to prepare for, and engage in, gainful employment consistent with their 
informed choice. A VR certificate could be used by participants to 
further their pursuit of a post-secondary degree. For example, an 
applicant could propose to award college credit to a participant who 
meets the requirements and criteria established for a VR certificate, 
which may then be used by the participant to support an application to 
a four-year IHE that offers an undergraduate degree in VR counseling. 
However, it is up to the applicant to determine whether the Institute 
will award an academic or non-academic certificate. Further, the 
applicant must establish requirements and criteria for obtaining the VR 
certificate and define how the certificate may be used by participants, 
if desired, to pursue an advanced degree.
    Change: In order to clarify the purpose of a VR certificate, we 
added language to the introductory paragraph of Priority 1 to clarify 
that the Institute may determine whether the VR certificate awarded 
will be academic or non-academic, the requirements for obtaining such a 
certificate, and how the certificate may be used by participants who 
earn it.
    Comment: Commenters raised concerns regarding excessively high 
unemployment and an overall lack of industry in many tribal communities 
and how those issues may affect the training topic specified in 
Priority 1 to focus on effective communication with business. 
Commenters suggested that the content in this topic be expanded to 
include approaches for developing relationships and working with 
entrepreneurs, small businesses, and cooperative businesses that may 
offer emerging employment opportunities for tribal members with 
disabilities.
    Discussion: We recognize the commenters' concerns related to high 
unemployment and accept their proposed suggestions for expanding the 
topic focused on effective communication with business to include 
working with entrepreneurs, small businesses, and cooperative 
businesses.
    Change: In order to ensure that the training module titled 
``Effective Communication with Business'' is an accurate representation 
of the marketplace in tribal communities, we expanded the first 
sentence of Priority 1, paragraph (a)(3), to include all types of 
businesses, especially entrepreneurs, small businesses, and cooperative 
businesses that may offer employment opportunities for tribal members 
with disabilities.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: In our own review of the priorities, it became apparent 
that paragraph (h)(4) of Priority 1 is unclear and that the language in 
that paragraph does not meaningfully add to the requirements for the 
priority. Therefore, we are removing this language.
    Change: In Priority 1, paragraph (h)(4) is removed. Therefore, 
paragraph (h)(5) in Priority 1 is renumbered as paragraph (h)(4).
    Comment: A few commenters requested clarification regarding whether 
Priority 2 is a subset of Priority 1 and whether applicants will be 
required to meet both priorities.
    Discussion: We believe that the Institute, as proposed, must be 
developed and delivered through collaboration between a four-year IHE 
and a two-year community college or tribal college. We believe that the 
priorities, as written, are clear.
    Change: None.
    Comment: A few commenters requested clarification regarding 
Priority 2, which, as proposed, requires collaboration between a four-
year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal college. Commenters 
inquired as to whether other partners, in addition to a four-year IHE 
and a two-year community college or tribal college, could be involved 
in a collaboration agreement.
    Discussion: In Priority 2, as proposed, we require collaboration 
between a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal 
college. The collaboration may be expanded to include other relevant 
partners to support the goals and expected outcomes of this project, 
such as a business. However, the collaboration must include, at a 
minimum, a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal 
college. We believe that the priority is clear as written.
    Change: None.
    Comment: None.
    Discussion: In our own review of the priorities and the comments we 
received, it became clear that applicants could benefit from additional 
details and clarification about our requirements in Priority 2. 
Therefore, we revised the priority to clarify its purpose, 
requirements, intended outcomes, and how applicants are to respond to 
the priority. First, the purpose of Priority 2 is to require a 
partnership between a four-year IHE and a two-year

[[Page 47582]]

community college or tribal college to effectively implement the 
requirements of Priority 1. We believe that community colleges or 
tribal colleges are uniquely suited to provide the type of customized 
instruction necessary to meet the requirements of Priority 1. In 
addition, the involvement of a four-year IHE will improve the 
instruction by providing access to faculty who possess a breadth of 
knowledge and experience in the field of VR. Therefore, applicants will 
respond to Priority 2 by demonstrating, in the narrative portion of 
their application, that the Institute reflects a collaboration of 
knowledge, experience, skills, faculty, curriculum, resources, and 
technology between a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or 
tribal college in order to deliver a high-quality structured program of 
training on foundational VR knowledge and skills in a culturally 
appropriate manner.
    Second, Priority 2, as proposed, was written to require 
collaboration between a four-year IHE and a two-year community college 
or tribal college. We replaced the term ``collaboration'' in the 
proposed priority with the term ``partnership'' in the final priority 
in order to better reflect the type of relationship that we intended 
between the four-year IHE and the two-year community college or tribal 
college. In addition, Priority 2, as proposed, was written to require a 
formal agreement between a four-year IHE and a two-year community or 
tribal college. We replaced the term ``formal agreement'' with the term 
``partnership agreement'' in order to better reflect the purpose of the 
priority. In Priority 2, the partnership agreement is required to be 
submitted in addition to the narrative portion of the application.
    Third, Priority 2, as proposed, would have given the Secretary 
discretion to require the formal agreement to include the signatures of 
the president and chief financial officer from the four-year IHE and 
the two-year community college or tribal college. However, after 
review, we concluded that it is essential that the partnership 
agreement contain the signatures of the president and chief financial 
officer of both parties, and we make this a mandatory component of the 
agreement. In addition, we concluded that the remaining four elements 
of the agreement are also critical to ensuring that the partnership is 
able to effectively implement the requirements in Priority 1 and meet 
the goal of the Institute. Therefore, the partnership agreement 
described in Priority 2 must contain all four components, three of 
which we revised to clarify and streamline the applications.
    Finally, a component in Priority 2, as proposed, required the 
formal agreement to include in-kind or financial contributions from 
both parties. However, because there are no matching requirements in 
this program, we revised this component to make clear that these 
contributions are not required. Another component in Priority 2, as 
proposed, required the formal agreement to include a plan to sustain 
the partnership after the Federal investment ends. We revised this 
requirement for the partnership agreement in the final priority to 
require applicants to provide a brief strategy to sustain the 
partnership after the Federal investment ends.
    Change: Priority 2 is revised to clarify the requirements for the 
partnership between a four-year IHE and two-year community college or 
tribal college, including its objective of delivering a high-quality 
structured program of training on foundational VR knowledge and skills 
in a culturally appropriate manner. Priority 2 also is revised to 
require a partnership agreement, which must be signed by the president 
and chief financial officer of both parties. The required partnership 
agreement must include a brief description of how the partnership will 
operate each year during the five-year grant period of performance. The 
agreement must also describe how information regarding the progress of 
the grant, as well as any issues and challenges, will be communicated; 
what steps will be taken to resolve conflicts; the roles, 
responsibilities, and deliverables of each party; and the arrangements, 
if any, for supporting the program with resources, that are not paid 
for by the award; and include a brief strategy to sustain the 
partnership and the structured training program after the Federal 
investment ends.

Final Priorities

Priority 1: Vocational Rehabilitation Training Institute for the 
Preparation of Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation 
Services Projects

    The Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services establishes a priority to support one Institute under section 
21(b)(2)(C) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended--the 
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Training Institute for the Preparation 
of Personnel in American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services 
(AIVRS) Projects (the Institute). The Institute will provide a 
structured program of training in vocational rehabilitation (VR) to 
current personnel of the AIVRS projects to improve the delivery of VR 
services to American Indians with disabilities. The Institute will 
conduct outreach activities and consult with appropriate and relevant 
entities in developing and providing training and TA to AIVRS projects. 
All products, curricula, and deliverables developed by the Institute 
must reflect the AIVRS population and diversity among its communities 
to the maximum extent possible. The Institute will consist of a series 
of trainings specifically geared towards building foundational skills 
that, when satisfactorily completed, will lead to a VR certificate 
awarded by the Institute. The Institute may determine whether the VR 
certificate awarded will be academic or non-academic, the requirements 
for obtaining such a certificate, and how the certificate may be used 
by participants who earn it. The series of trainings may be offered in 
a traditional classroom setting, through distance learning, through 
week-long institutes, at regional trainings throughout the country as 
an extension of national conferences, and through other delivery 
methods, as appropriate, to meet the needs of the targeted audience. In 
addition, grant funds may be used to provide reasonable financial 
assistance to offset costs associated with travel for participants who 
may be located in remote areas of the country. The Institute will 
conduct an assessment before and after providing training for each 
participant in order to assess strengths and specific areas for 
improvement, educational attainment and application of skills, and any 
issues or challenges to be addressed post-training to ensure improved 
delivery of VR services to American Indians with disabilities. The 
Institute will provide follow-up TA to participants to address any 
issues or challenges that are identified post-training and to ensure 
that the training they received is applied effectively in their work 
setting. Finally, the Institute will conduct an evaluation to obtain 
feedback on the training and follow-up TA and to determine whether this 
improvement contributed to increased employment outcomes for American 
Indians with disabilities.
    The Department will award this grant as a cooperative agreement to 
ensure that there is substantial involvement (i.e., significant 
communication and collaboration) between RSA and the grantee in 
carrying out the activities of the program (34 CFR 75.200(b)(4)).
    In coordination with the Department, the Institute must, in a 
culturally appropriate manner:

[[Page 47583]]

    (a) Develop a structured program of training on foundational VR 
knowledge and skills that will lead to AIVRS personnel earning a VR 
certificate. The training would include, at a minimum: vocational 
assessment, determination of applicant eligibility, development of an 
individualized plan for employment (IPE), the acquisition and use of 
assistive technology, and obtaining and using up-to-date labor market 
information to understand the local economy and effectively match the 
skills of AIVRS consumers with the needs of employers. The Institute 
must provide culturally relevant training that goes beyond technical 
compliance with the program statute and regulations applicable to the 
AIVRS program (Section 121 of the Rehabilitation Act, 34 CFR Parts 369 
and 371, and EDGAR) and focuses on providing the basic foundational 
skills necessary to improve counseling and VR services provided by 
AIVRS personnel. The training topics must include, at a minimum:
    (1) Introduction to VR: An orientation to the field of VR, 
addressing in general terms the various disabilities a VR counselor is 
apt to encounter working in an AIVRS project. The training developed by 
the Institute must teach AIVRS personnel to understand the nature of a 
significant disability and the complexities a person with such a 
disability experiences and must teach how various disabilities affect 
an individual's ability to participate in competitive employment;
    (2) Effective communication with AIVRS consumers including: 
Identification of approaches to, techniques for, and relevant examples 
of developing trust and rapport with individuals with a disability; 
appropriate conduct when engaging with individuals with a disability; 
and interacting with members of the tribal council;
    (3) Effective communication with business including: Identification 
of approaches to, techniques for, and relevant examples of building and 
maintaining relationships with all types of businesses, especially 
entrepreneurs, small businesses, and cooperative businesses that may 
offer emerging employment opportunities for tribal members with 
disabilities. This training topic includes educating potential 
employers about how reasonable accommodations and assistive technology 
can be used to support effectively the employment of individuals with 
disabilities. The Institute must also teach participants how to obtain 
accurate labor market information on available employment opportunities 
in their State and local area, and how to identify education, technical 
requirements, and necessary skill sets for the jobs available;
    (4) Conducting a vocational assessment and determining eligibility: 
How to obtain and evaluate necessary medical and other documentation 
and the results of assessments that may have been conducted by entities 
other than the AIVRS project. The Institute must teach AIVRS personnel 
how to use appropriate assessment tools that assist in determining an 
individual's eligibility for VR services and in developing an IPE;
    (5) Managing caseload: How to manage cases so that information can 
be retrieved and communicated to the AIVRS consumer in a timely manner. 
The Institute must teach AIVRS personnel how to create, manage, and 
appropriately close consumer case files;
    (6) Development of an IPE: How to plan and provide VR services that 
lead to meaningful employment opportunities that are at appropriate 
skill levels and consistent with the consumer's abilities, interests, 
and informed choice; and
    (7) Development of job-seeking skills: Identification of approaches 
to, techniques for, and relevant examples of improving job-seeking 
skills. This includes resume preparation, practicing interview skills, 
networking, navigating job sites, targeting job searches, and other 
effective skills that will lead to job placement for AIVRS consumers.
    (b) Develop a course syllabus that describes the proposed sequence 
of topical training.
    (c) Develop a training module for one of the seven topics in 
paragraph (a) to serve as an example for how participants will be 
trained in that area.
    (d) Develop a recruitment and retention plan that describes how the 
Institute will conduct outreach activities and recruitment efforts to 
enroll current AIVRS personnel in the Institute. Current AIVRS staff 
may nominate themselves or be nominated by the AIVRS project director 
to participate in the Institute. The plan must also describe how the 
Institute will provide academic support and counseling for AIVRS 
personnel to ensure successful completion, as well as steps that will 
be taken to provide assistance to AIVRS personnel who are not 
performing to their fullest potential in the Institute's structured 
program of training.
    (e) Identify innovative methods and strategies for supporting AIVRS 
personnel when they have completed the training, including a plan for 
maintaining regular contact with AIVRS personnel upon successful 
completion of the structured program of training and providing follow-
up TA on various situations and settings encountered by AIVRS personnel 
in working with American Indians with disabilities, as well as TA on 
effective programmatic and fiscal management of an AIVRS project.
    (f) Develop an assessment tool for use by the Institute before and 
after the training. The assessment must identify the strengths and 
specific areas in which participants need to improve prior to the 
beginning of the training. In addition, 90 days after the training is 
completed, the assessment must evaluate the attainment of skills, 
demonstrated application of those skill sets, and any issues or 
challenges for participating AIVRS personnel that may impact improved 
delivery of VR services to American Indians with disabilities. The 
Institute must administer the assessment tool and provide a copy to 
participants. The Institute must also ensure that the results are 
reviewed with participating AIVRS personnel and shared with their 
respective Directors.
    (g) Describe a plan to provide follow-up TA, either virtually or 
on-site, to participants. The purpose is to ensure that the training 
that AIVRS personnel received is applied effectively in their work 
settings and addresses any issues or challenges identified as a result 
of the assessment that is conducted 90 days after the training is 
completed.
    (h) Describe how the Institute will be evaluated. Such a 
description must include:
    (1) How the Institute will determine its impact over a period of 
time on improving the delivery of VR services to American Indians with 
disabilities and increasing employment outcomes;
    (2) How input from AIVRS project directors will be included in the 
evaluation;
    (3) How feedback from American Indians with disabilities will be 
included in the evaluation;
    (4) How the data and results from the evaluation will be used to 
make necessary adjustments and improvements to AIVRS projects and 
training of AIVRS personnel.

Priority 2: Partnership Between a Four-Year Institution of Higher 
Education and a Two-Year Community College or Tribal College

    Applicants will demonstrate, in the narrative portion of their 
application, that the Institute reflects a collaboration of knowledge, 
experience, skills, faculty, curricula resources, and technology 
between a four-year IHE and a two-year community college or tribal 
college in order to deliver a high-quality

[[Page 47584]]

structured program of training on foundational VR knowledge and skills 
in a culturally appropriate manner.
    Applicants are required to submit a partnership agreement, in 
addition to the narrative portion of their application. The partnership 
agreement must be signed by the president and chief financial officer 
of both parties. Applicants must include a brief description in the 
partnership agreement of how the partnership will operate each year 
during the five-year grant period of performance. Applicants must also 
summarize in the agreement how information regarding the progress of 
the grant, as well as any issues and challenges, will be communicated; 
what steps will be taken to resolve conflicts; the roles, 
responsibilities, and deliverables of each party; and the arrangements, 
if any, for supporting the program with resources, that are not paid 
for by the award. Finally, applicants must provide a brief strategy in 
the agreement to sustain the partnership and the structured training 
program after the Federal investment ends.
    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 final 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, projects, and 
activities.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to Executive 
Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR part 79, unless the applicant 
is a federally recognized Indian tribe. 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.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) by contacting the Grants and Contracts 
Services Team, U.S. Department of Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., 
Room 5075, PCP, Washington, DC 20202-2550. Telephone: (202) 245-

[[Page 47585]]

7363. If you use a TDD or a TTY, call the FRS, toll free, at 1-800-877-
8339.
    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: August 11, 2014.
Michael K. Yudin,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 2014-19285 Filed 8-13-14; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P