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The Department of Rehabilitation (often referred to as “DR”) is the State Department responsible for providing job training and related services to help people with disabilities get jobs.  DR serves people with every type of disability.  Individuals with developmental disabilities make up about 25% of the total people served by the Department of Rehabilitation in California. This is a high percentage because people with developmental disabilities, unlike other disability groups, have a guaranteed right to services under the Lanterman Act.  The Department of Rehabilitation provides two primary services to individuals with developmental disabilities:Work Activity Programs – These programs are sometimes referred to as production centers or “workshops.” These are programs typically provided in a single location providing vocational training and paid work.  Currently, the State has approximately 10,000 consumers working in Work Activity Programs.  Here in the East Bay the total is around 650 individuals.  In Contra Costa County these programs include three Commercial Support Services (CSS) programs operated by Contra Costa ARC and the CAP (Custom Assembly and Packaging) program operated by the California Autism Foundation.  Supported Employment – These programs provide support for people working in jobs in the community.  Individuals may be working on their own (Individual Placement) or in a small group (Group Placement):
  • Individual Placement is for individuals who are able to work independently for companies in their community.  The individual receives on-the-job supports from a Job Coach provided by the Supported Employment agency.  Statewide approximately 4,800 individuals work in Individual Placement jobs.  In the East Bay 382 individuals are employed in individual community placements.  Group Placement is for individuals who need on-going support on their jobs in order to be successful in working in the community.  A group is between 4 and 8 consumers at a single location.  Statewide approximately 5,000 individuals work in-group placement jobs.  In the East Bay 337 individuals are employed in-group placements.
In Contra Costa County, the agencies providing Supported Employment Services include: Futures Explored, Contra Costa ARC – Commercial Support Services, California Autism Foundation, Stepping Stones and North Bay Industries.The services and supports provided by the Department of Rehabilitation are funded with a combination of state and federal funds.  The State dollars designated specifically for people with developmental disabilities are used as a “match” to bring in federal dollars.  This allows California draw down $30 million per year in federal dollars.  In total, DR spends $150 Million per year on employment services for individuals with developmental disabilities or approximately $7,500 per consumer. 

This makes these employment services easily the most cost-effective services for people with developmental disabilities in the State.However, current Budget Proposals by the Governor call for:
  • A 5% rate reduction for all Supported Employment Providers.  The current rate has been in effect for many years and covers only about 60% of the cost of the program.  Providers in Contra Costa County already must raise hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to keep these programs operating. A 5% rate reduction for all Work Activity Programs.  This is in addition to the rate freeze that has been in effect since FY 97-98.  Again, these programs must raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to keep these programs operating.  
A transfer of all the State funded services for people with developmental disabilities out of the Department of Rehabilitation and into the State Department of Developmental Services and the Regional Centers.  This is an enormous administrative challenge for both Regional Centers and service providers These groups strongly oppose the transfer which is expected to save only $800,000 and is widely seen as detrimental to employment opportunities for people with developmental disabilities.

The Governor’s proposed cuts severely jeopardize these important programs and services