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Transcript for March 2017

>> Hello. This is Angie Santana [assumed spelling], from Anchorage, Alaska. And I work for Cook Inlet Tribal Council, a Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation Program. And I will present on our program specifically. And just go ahead and follow along. And if you have questions, please feel free to interrupt me, or, you know, just ask me. But I thought it would be fair if you want to introduce yourselves, that would be great, too. And we can go from there. Is anybody.

>> Hi. Yes, I'm sorry. This is Leah [assumed spelling], again. So, basically, I'm in my third year of the [inaudible] program. I'm going to be graduating, this semester. I'm doing cognitive studies and currently am working at the Department of Rehabilitation. We have three other people in here, too. You guys want to introduce yourselves?

>> Sure. Hi, Angie. This is Nick Wright [assumed spelling]. I've actually emailed with you in the past regarding your RCSA membership. And I'm a third-year grad student and also, specializing in the Cognitive Disability Specialization. And will be graduating, this year. And I work for California Department of Rehab, just as a general intern counsellor. So, looking forward to hearing what you have to say. Because I've yet to hear anything about Tribal Voc Rehab. So, woo hoo.

>> Hi, Angie. This is Rachel. I originally sent you some messages, or with Leah. We had a bunch of people emailing you. But so, I am not in a specialty. I'm a staffer in the rehab counseling program. Let's see. I was working at San Diego State Student Disability Services. I'm the program coordinator there, for disability awareness and advocacy. And then, I did some internship, there. And right now, I'm working at MiraCosta College as the community, or the Student Activities office. So, that's a community college in southern California. So, that's where I'm at. And we do have one more who's also on the RCSA, as well.

>> I'll do mine. Hi, my name is Vanessa Corona [assumed spelling]. I'm overseeing the whole presentation, here. So, I just wanted to thank you for sharing this information. I know it's extremely valuable and great for us to learn something new. I graduated last year in May. And I'm currently here working at Hanover Institute on a variety of grant projects.

>> Hi, I'm Dorothea [assumed spelling]. I'm Vice President for the RCSA. And. I'm doing a specialty for the Psychiatric Rehabilitation. And with emphasis on the LPTC and I am in the second year. Cool.

>> And that's everyone that's here. Awesome.

>> All right. Anybody else, online? I'm.

>> Maybe, Chuck. I don't know.

>> Chuck is online. And we also have, I believe, one more person that's online. I see Bill, Bill Hellman [assumed spelling]. Yeah. I don't know what happened to you. Oh, he left. I don't know. Okay. Well, awesome. Well, we'll go ahead and get started, then. And you see the PowerPoint, here. Correct? Okay, great. I'll just go through that and. Like I said, just stop me if you have any questions. All right. So, I developed like this table of contents to kind of guide us through what this PowerPoint is about. And I'm the Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation outreach counselor. So, that basically means I do outreach in our region for TVR. Just to give, like a. Did somebody have a question? No.

>> Not yet.

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>> All right. So, just to give an overall. About vocational rehabilitation and TVR is. Of course, TVR is funded by the Department of Education. Rehabilitation Services Administration, Title I. Rehabilitation Act of 1973. And within that is the Section 121, which is the Tribal portion of that. And authorizes TVR across the country. And according to the consortia of administrators of Native American Rehabilitation, or TNR, there are 81 TVR programs across the country. And the difference between TVR and Division of Vocational Rehabilitation. DVR is that, TVR is federally funded or grant funded. Whereas the state DVR, or DOR is formula funded. So, that's the main difference. And some of our tribes do have to compete for the grants. So, that's how we receive our funding. It's federally funded. So, just to give you like a pictorial. The native people of Alaska. So, here, you see there are mainly five tribes within Alaska. But there's about 226 or 29 federally recognized tribes throughout the state. And so, up north, you have the Inupiat Alaskan Native tribes.

Here, you'll see the Yupik and Cupik tribes in my. I come from this little island, Nunivak Island, which is. I don't know if you can see it. But it's right there. And then when you get along to the Aleutian chain, what we call Aleutian chain, is the Aleut, or the Unangan tribe. And it is. Within those little islands going out and towards that way. And then, you get into the interior, here. And that's the Dena'ina Athabaskan. And that's the area that we mainly serve, is within that territory, of the interior. And then, along the southeast coast on the islands are the Tlingit and the Haida. So, those are the main tribal categories throughout Alaska. And then, so, Alaska has 11 TVR programs and 10 state TVR programs. You can see how big our state is from the east coast all the way to the west coast.

And so, you see that there are like the DVR offices, or the state offices. There's one in Anchorage, Eagle River. There are actually two in Anchorage. Eagle River, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kenai, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Sitka, and Wasilla. And then, some of those communities are TVR programs. In Fairbanks, Barrow being the northernmost community has one. Billingham, Kodiak, Bethel, two in Anchorage. The other TVR program in Anchorage here, is the Aleutian Pribilof Islands Association. Nome. I'm not sure if Metlakatla has one. If they were ever refunded again. There's also Juneau and Kiana. And within the state of Alaska, there are about 74 approved community rehabilitation programs or CPR. And because we are grant funded, TVR has an operating budget of one percent compared to DVR. So, we're considered a second dollar resource. So, having a partner in a plan for a consumer is, would help us with a successful employment outcome. So.

>> Hey, Angie.

>> Yes.

>> Do you travel throughout the state, or do you like cover just the one central area in Alaska doing outreach to different communities?

>> I have travelled throughout the state, in other positions. But I was going to get to that. So.

>> Okay.

>> Yeah. Yeah. I see. Normally, in the south-central region, or the Cook Inlet region, is our service area. And that's. I'll come to that in a few minutes, here. So, Cook Inlet Tribal Council is a tribal nonprofit organization. And we serve Alaskan Native and American Indian individuals residing in the Cook Inlet region, or south central Alaska. And we believe in working together, developing strengths and talents. Become successful to, so that individuals can be self-sufficient for themselves and families. And CITC began in 1983. And now, today, has normally serve about 12,000 people, annually. And has a staff of about 250 employees. The CITC provides support services for education, employment, and training workforce development, family preservation, and support for individuals in recovery of addictions and substance abuse. So, that's Cook Inlet Tribal Council. So, the Cook Inlet Tribal Council service area is within the Cook Inlet region. So, that would be the south-central region, here. And the tribal communities that we serve are Knik, which is, if you see on the map, here.

You can see Anchorage, here. And then, just north of that is Knik, which is like 35 miles north of us. So, it could take about 45 minutes to drive in the winter. But normally like half an hour in the summer. So, that's Knik. And there's Eklutna. Chickaloon is north of Knik. And then, there's Seldovia. Which is at the lowest point, here, at the bottom. Ninilchik is right here. That's one of our tribes that we serve. Tununak. Where is Tununak? Oh, it's across the inlet, here. And Kenaitze is one of the service areas that we help with the [inaudible]. So, all of these areas are by, you can drive to. Some of them we have to fly to. So, normally, if you wanted to go to Kenai, it could be about two to three and a half hours to get there. Otherwise, it's like a 20, 30-minute flight from Anchorage to Kenia. And then, for outreach we try to do a quarterly outreach of our case staffing with DVR with community frontier community services.

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And other organizations. So, we do a lot of case staffing. We have a case in Homer, which is not very far from Seldovia. That's the service area. So, [inaudible] tribal council of TVR is. So, our program basically helps Alaskan Native and American Indians who experience a disability find employment. And our, we help our consumers to enter the workforce, encourage employment, and return to work based on their strength, resources, priorities, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice. TVR. This is our staff, here, at the Anchorage office. We have one program manager, Letitia [assumed spelling], who has her CRC. We have two counselor associates that are in training. And I am, as well. And we have one program technician. Normally, our office can range about having 114 completed applicants. And 23 successful closures. That was per our Letitia. And that was last year.

So, our process usually begins with one of the tribal councils referring to us or DVR, or one of the schools. Like, one of the colleges. They'll avail to the referral process, the orientation process. And once the person has been assigned to a counselor, then they will schedule the intake and then, that point, they will get into more of the consumer's information. Fill out release of information forms, obtain medical records, because we need to see the diagnosis from a provider. And these two are interchangeable. The IPE or the assessment. Once the consumer has been determined eligible, they'll make another appointment for developing the individualized plan for employment. And we'll have him or her fill out the. We use a self-directed search as our assessment to justify creating a plan. And a lot of times we will have our consumers also apply with DVR. And DVR has a three-day assessment. And that just gives us more of an idea of what is recommended for the consumer. And it's, say someone has like a possible suspected traumatic brain injury or some type of developmental disability.

Then, we'll have him or her go to a specialist like the Alaska Neurological Clinic, and have them go to a neuropsyche, a neuropsyche evaluation. And, then depending on what the person wants to do, within that one vocational goal, they will. They can choose training as one of their goals, as long as it's employment focused. So, let's see, what TVR usually can do is help them with a two-year degree. If it's more than that, they could go to DVR, who can help with a four-year degree. But within that, they can have partners in their plan, like applying with their native corporation to receive scholarships ad to help share the cost. And then, if it's competitive employment or self-employment as their goal, they have 90 days. And once they've completed that, it would be considered a successful closure.

>> Hey, Angie.

>> Yes.

>> Is there a lot of employment plans over there, [inaudible]. Maybe it would be a little different than California, given. I really don't know what the industry is like over there. I would think that there would be a lot of self-employment.

>> Yeah. I mean, there. It all really depends on the readiness of the consumer and their willingness to actually work like that. We have successful closures on self-employment where a consumer will have gainful employment through selling native crafts. So, that's one that is always pretty much successful. We have individuals who will go to full time or part time employment. And that is normally. If they have a really good job developer that they're working with and they've identified, you know, what it is. That one vocational goal that they would like to do. Then, they will be considered a successful closure. And I'm not sure if I totally answered your question. I didn't really hear it.

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>> Oh, you answered it. That was actually really cool. And then, are people actually getting into competitive employment, not necessarily self-employment? Do you, like common types of jobs that people are falling into? For example, like physical labor jobs, or? I'm just trying to get an idea. Like what industries are out there and what demand and what not.

>> Yeah. A lot of the jobs that we have unsuccessful closure would be like in retail. We have some folks who, you know, will like work in customer service or retail. And we have some folks who have been successful closures in like construction. Like some folks who are, oh gosh, what's that. Some of them can work with heavy equipment. They go through heavy equipment training, and then, they can become hired with one of the heavy equipment operator. Things like that. Trying to think who else is. We have consumers who will like work at a university that have become successful closures. And. Yeah. I'll have to do some type of survey to see, or gather more information about what constitutes for a successful closure.

>> No worries. That actually sounds like it [inaudible] range. I wasn't even expecting that. That's cool. Thanks for educating me.

>> Okay. Sorry. I think you'll have to talk near the mic. All right. I'll move on. Okay. So, I think I've said this, already, that our goal is to have them become employed bases on their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and informed choice. I'd like to say that informed choice is, this is a volunteer program. No one is forcing them to do this. And I'd like to say that as much as they put into the program, it's what they'll get out of the program. So, just letting them know that they have their responsibility, you know, to make this as successful as they can. When it comes to eligibility. A lot of the time, when we have consumers fill out a release of information for medical records to determine eligibility, that's the criteria that we need for their file. But if they have already, are receiving SSI, they're presumed eligible. If they're having, you know, you can see it. You can see that somebody's in a wheelchair, you know, they're presumed eligible. We still need their medical records. They're expected to benefit from the process.

So, we have them in a plan and we want them to, you know, be successful. They're presumed to benefit. And they require our services to become employed. Because TVR is a special project, because we work with Alaskan Native or American Indian consumers, our process. One of our documents that we do need is to have a, what's called a ''Certificate of Indian Blood'', from their Native Corporation or their village council. And this is a form that we would, you know, have them like, they'll have to bring a copy of one of those documents for their file. So, they must come from a federally recognized tribe for their file. And if they don't have their Certificate of Indian Blood or maybe they lost their CIB, we can have them fill out this form and fax it to their native corporation or their tribal council.

So, when I meet with folks, like potential consumers or you know, give a presentation on our process, I explain, you know, the types of disability that would determine them to be eligible for our program. And we have a list of like some of these physical disabilities that they can become eligible with. Then that. Other disabilities that they can help be determined eligible for our program are these. Like depression, PTSD. And then, we have also, alcohol dependence in remission. And what I like to explain at the get-go, when I meet with a consumer, is to be clear about the type. If there are being determined eligible on alcohol dependence in remission, I like to say that they. In remission means currently not using. So, I like to establish that. And if they say that they've been struggling, then I'll have them go through a referral. Or have them do the alcohol assessment with recovery services. And based on their recovery services assessment, it will determine their readiness to change and their recommendation. So, that's what we do.

So, like I said, our process will have the consumer meet first with the technician for the orientation. And then, once they have been assigned a counselor, then we'll do the intake and fill out the release of information forms. Schedule the assessment, the SPS, and later on, schedule for the developing the plan. So, we have like a list of criteria that need to be met or that are explained. So, like the participant's rights and responsibilities. Our rights and responsibilities. Due process. The crime assistance program. Confidentiality and limits to confidentiality. And comparable services. Because TVR, like I said, is a second-dollar resource, having comparable benefits which help in shared cost. > Hey, Angie.

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>> Yes.

>> You say that you have consumers use the self-directed search?

>> Uh huh.

>> Okay. Very cool. I wanted to make sure I heard you clearly.

>> Yeah. And what I'm learning, also, is that even though it is a form of assessment, my supervisor tells me that every time we meet with a consumer is an observation that is also an assessment. You know, seeing how they interact, their interpersonal skills, their communication, their demeanor. Because like, every opportunity we get to see our consumers, that is also an assessment. Because our process involves medical records in determining eligibility, we give ourselves like a 60-day window. We have our consumers fill out the extension form, because we have one major medical facility, here, and it's the Alaskan Native Medical Center. And there're times when their medical records are like backlogged three to four weeks. So, this just gives us a time to obtain and review medical records. But it's also explained to the consumer that they can bring their own medical records to speed the process up. So, this is the self-directed search that we use. Basically, this helps us to get an idea of what the consumer is good at.

Or what occupation can closely match their likes and their competencies. So, this is what we like to use. If for example, we have a consumer who has like a learning disability or intellectual maybe disability, we'll have them use the Pics assessment. Which is basically, you have like a set of pictures and you can like circle the one that you can relate to. So, once they get to a plan development, they have like, they've established the one vocational goal that they'd like to pursue. These are some of the services that we can provide, such as transportation. You can see them all. Benefits analysis. If they do receive SSI or SSDI, post-employment, counseling, and guidance. And you see a list, there. One of the things, because TVR, like I said, is a special project, is that we can also refer them to what's called traditional human services. And that's where they can see like someone within a native health organization like a tribal doctor of like a tribal princess for like. I don't know what they do. Like, laying hands or prayers, maybe. So. Those are the services. And once a consumer had identified that one vocational goal, we can ask the consumer if they want to contribute to their plan or who the department. Or ask who the partners will be for that plan. And then, make sure that those services are provided for the consumer.

Some of the things for the IPE is amending the IPE if additional services are needed. And then, of course, having the consumer understand his or her responsibilities in completing the plan. So, IPE services basically, we like to have our consumers be employed for at least 90 days. Throughout that 90-day period, they can receive work clothes, transportation, like a monthly bus pass or gas vouchers. Guidance and counseling or prosthetics and other devices. Once a consumer has been employed for 90 days, they would be considered a successful closure. And that's always great news, because during that time the consumer's been able to gain that confidence and the wherewithal to be self-supportive. And they proved to themselves the can work despite having a disability. So, that's always really great. So, like reasons for unsuccessful closure. If we have consumers who have like not responded to any loss of contact mail.

Or they're in a plan, but they have an upcoming medical surgery coming up and there's recovery time for that. If a consumer is unable to maintain sobriety, their case can potentially close. And if a consumer had been remanded or incarcerated. And so, these are some of the community programs that can be utilized here in Anchorage. There's a list, there. The client's assistance program. We have a flyer that we mail out with every correspondence. And that's an organization they can use if they feel like they have not been treated fairly or, I don't know, they don't necessarily agree with how the process has gone for them. They of course, they are located here. This is our contact information. If you ever want to get in touch with us or if you ever want to visit, way up here in cold Alaska.

>> Well, I have a question for you.

>> Uh huh.

>> This is about the, on average, how long, how much contact do you guys have from the beginning all the way to the successful closure?

>> I'm sorry, what was that again? It's really hard to hear.

>> How much contact do you guys have with the consumers from the beginning stage all the way to the successful closure?

>> Okay. Normally, once they have been in a plan, we like to have them contact us at least once a month. For our case notes, for you know, to let us know, if, you know, how they're doing on their job. Or if there's a change of address. And it would really depend on the consumer. We have consumers who contact us every, like every two weeks. Or if we need something right away from them, we'll you know, call them to come in. Or even with case staffing. If someone like is working with the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and there's some missing information, or. It all really depends. But our process is that once they're in a plan, it's normally once a month.

>> Okay. Also, too, there's a question coming in. If you can talk about PET-AIR and the types of training you received through that program.

>> Okay. So, I was in the last cohort with PET-AIR. The main epistle later for that was Jimmy Warney [assumed spelling]. And it was funded and now, that program, I guess doesn't receive any more funding. It's a nationwide program for American Indian, Alaskan Native graduate. It's a graduate program. And basically, it gave us the foundation of VR. So, but also, giving us the background for Tribal Vocational Rehabilitation. And we did special projects. We had at least once a quarter, or once a semester, sorry, we had a week-long in-class training there at SDSU, at the Interwork Institute. We worked collaboratively as a class and in group projects. And presented some of our work at the CANAR, or the Consortia of Administrators for Native American Rehabilitation. And. Some of our. There's another student that's like me, who was in PET-AIR. Was able to receive credits and have them also applied to this program, or the RCP program. So, that was really great, that some of our credits were transferrable.

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>> Thank you.

>> Yeah.

>> Hey, Angie. I have one last question.

>> Okay.

>> I know one of the things that makes you guys unique, is your culturally relevant services. Would you mind just like, talking a little bit about what that looks like? Or what those culturally relevant services entail?

>> Yeah. So, like I'm fortunate because I'm Alaska Native and I get to serve other Alaskan Native or American Indian consumers. Being a tribal organization, we of course, wanted to see our people be successful. And having them go from a place of uncertainty or unemployment to a place where they can take steps toward having gained their confidence back. And one of those avenues is TVR. And we have other programs, here, in our building that are not, that provide other services. And we can utilize them as partners in our plan. And how we like to see them become successful is. Like for instance, if someone has been an artist all their life, but they've had this disability. Or like, say alcohol dependence in remission or depression. But they have these skills to be like a carver. They can, you know, carve ivory. They can sell their art. They can. I had a consumer who had those disabilities. He began his own, he had his own online art gallery and he just needed support services to produce more artwork.

So, that was like a way to help him. Like helping him with tools or with some material. And having him, just helping him to start his self-employment business. So, we're more like, when it comes to self-employment, we're more like a start-up program. So, only for individuals who are in self-employment, they can receive up to $4,000 for their self-employment and it's always really great. Another service, because it is culturally relevant, is that having them, encouraging them to seek mental health services or behavioral health services through the Alaska Native Medical Center. Which is also another tribal. They're the tribal health corporation for Alaska. So, they have culturally relevant.

Well, they have counselors who work toward understanding the diversity or the ethnicity of our people. And if not, consumers can choose to go to the traditional healing, there's a traditional healing clinic, where they have tribal doctors. Like I said, they have different ways of practicing healing, like gosh. Like some prayers or laying of hands in certain areas where a consumer might not feel, you know, gosh. It's really hard to explain that part. They just have, they. I'm. Like tribal doctors help them with like someone had an injury on their knee. One of the tribal doctors would massage and like work on some of their pressure point areas. And I can find you information on that if you like. But other than that. Working with the surrounding tribes throughout the region, like Kenaitze and Ninilchik traditional council. Working closely with those tribes helps us to provide culturally relevant services and. That's about it, I think, about that.

>> Great. Thanks.

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>> Mm hmm. Anyway. I thought, this is always awesome, the thank you, in Alaska Native languages that we have up here. And with that, I would say [foreign language] for sitting in and listening and your questions and of course, your advocacy, as well. I mean, I've gotten this far with SCSU with my training with PET-AIR and now, in the graduate program. So, hoping to finish strong. And also, my classmates. Thank you, for being there. Doctor Charles. And it's just really, VR is like a really. It's set apart. I believe that we're a really special program. We speak to the strengths, you know, whereas you know, other organizations may just see someone in a wheelchair. And I just feel, you know, totally blessed to be part of this program. And looking forward to more courses. And thank you for having me.

>> Thank you, so much.

>> Yeah. Any other questions? I don't know how else is?

>> I think that, concludes it.

>> No. We don't have any more questions coming up on the chat box. And here, at Interwork, we don't have any more additional questions. We just want to thank you for taking your time to share with us here, your knowledge about the Cook Inlet Tribal Council. We thank you for that.

>> Yeah.

>> Thank you.

>> Thanks, Fabio.

>> Thank you.

>> Uh huh. Thank you. Is that it? Is every.

>> Yes. That's it.

>> Okay. Thank you.

>> All right. Thank you.

>> Bye.

>> Good bye.

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