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Looking Back at 2018

An infographic labeled 2018 in numbers. All data referenced is based on state fiscal year 2017-2018.  101,750 individuals with disabilities received services, up 1% from last year.   16,765 students with disabilities received educational and career readiness training and services through DOR Student Services Program.  More than 6,000 businesses partnered with DOR to hire individuals with disabilities.  62,912 job posted on Hot jobs in collaboration with businesses.  $14.08 average consumer hourly wage, up 6% from last year.


Looking back at 2018, here are a few highlights from the year. In 2019, DOR is looking forward to the new Governor and his Administration taking office and the opportunities to further the employment and independence of Californians with disabilities.

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Funding for 2019 Vocational Rehabilitation Programs Confirmed

Because a new budget has not been passed by Congress and the President, many Federal agencies and programs have unfortunately shutdown. However, earlier this fall, Congress had passed a number of individual funding bills, including funding for the Department of Education – this included the amount appropriated for vocational rehabilitation programs. While many agencies have ceased operations as they wait for the passage of the new budget, DOR is operating as usual.

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Next Steps in Grant Solicitation Process

Scale and open book

As you may know, DOR has been enhancing and evaluating our grant award process in response to the California State Auditor's report and community feedback. Changing rules takes time and we have a few more steps until the final Grant Solicitation Manual (GSM) is finalized and released. In the meantime, DOR is following guidelines outlined in the Interim GSM.

Separately, as recommended by the California State Auditor, DOR has also begun the rulemaking process and submitted the proposed regulations that will mandate the GSM to the Office of Administrative Law (OAL). This submission kicked off a 45-day public comment period which began on December 28, 2018. All proposed regulations are now available to view on our website. We will be accepting public comments until February 11, 2019. Comments can be submitted to or made during a public hearing at DOR’s Central Office on February 11, 2019. The hearing will start at 2:00 pm and adjourn promptly at 3:00 pm. To participate via phone, members of the public can call (877) 917-5782 at the time of the hearing and enter participant passcode 1888385 when prompted. To participate in person, please stop by 721 Capitol Mall, Room 242, Sacramento, California 95814. The public hearing will be conducted in accordance with the Administrative Procedures Act (APA). It will be an opportunity for members of the public to provide oral or written comments regarding the proposed regulations. Consistent with the APA, DOR will respond to all comments in writing as part of its final rulemaking package to be filed with OAL.

We appreciate your patience with this process and are confident the new process will adhere to uniform guidelines that will meet the unique and diverse needs of the public and our partners.

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Big Company Making Big Moves Towards Inclusion

From gadgets to groceries, Amazon has it all, including a diverse workforce. Amazon has taken steps to step up inclusivity by embedding American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters into their warehouse sites and doubling the size of their accommodations team across the Nation. In addition, with DOR’s guidance, they launched a pilot program that provides employees with disabilities the support of a job coach. Since July 2017, our partnership has contributed to Amazon hiring almost 300 DOR consumers in California. We are proud of the accomplishments our partnership has generated and look forward to bringing similar successes to other businesses.

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Amazon logo spelled with white ASL letters with yellow swoosh on a dark navy background

Improvements to Accommodate Employees and Consumers More Quickly

Blind person using audio book player for visually impaired

When standard equipment does not work well for someone with a disability, we need to provide an alternative that allows the employee or consumer to have the same ability to work and have access to information as do others without disabilities. A 2015 Joint Project Report, which included input from state employees and others with disabilities, described the state’s existing policies and processes as lacking the flexibility needed to timely provide effective accommodations, especially assistive technology.

Over the past year, the Department of General Services, Government Operations Agency and DOR have worked together to create more flexible procedures with input following a public forum in June attended by a variety of stakeholders, and with review and comment on new policy and forms by a group that met almost weekly since September.

Among the changes in the process is a name change to the list of vendors who specialize in providing assistive technology; formerly known as the State Price Schedule, the list is the Cal Assistive Technologies, Services, and Devices Supplier Directory . Featuring a new fully-accessible electronic application process for vendors and suppliers, more flexibility for state departments to choose to utilize the ATSD Supplier Directory in lieu of leveraged procurement agreements which do not specialize in tools serving as an accommodation for a disability, shorter response periods from vendors and state record-keeping should result in more effective accommodations and employee and consumer satisfaction. We thank our stakeholders for their commitment to equality and spending their time with us. For more information, please contact .

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Partnerships That Define Our Future

Black and white bridge with text bridge to the future IV destination: employment


In November 2018, the DOR, in collaboration with the California Department of Education and the California Transition alliance, co-sponsored the Bridge to the Future Institute IV Conference, Destination Employment. Bringing together more than 1200 professionals meeting the transition needs of students with disabilities, including 250 DOR staff, the conference emphasized youth leadership and collaboration between state departments, local agencies, and community partners. DOR Director, Joe Xavier, Special Education Director, Kristin Wright and the Employment Development Department Director Patrick Henning Jr. jointly presented the opening of the conference. Such collaboration was mirrored throughout the course of the two-day event. This capacity building conference increases communication and collaboration and provides opportunities for local programs to discuss and potentially replicate best practices. The connections formed at this conference will better assist DOR in working with both new and old partners to ensure the success of youth with disabilities.

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Inclusion Makes a Star Out of Us All

Young man wearing tuxedo steps out of limo on the red carpet smiling and waving

From the editing reel to the red carpet, 25 DOR student services participants received a once-in-a-lifetime experience to participate in an innovative approach to self-advocacy. Actor and producer Joey Travolta annually led Summer Inclusion Film Camps throughout the nation; DOR partnered with Lodi Unified School District to sponsor this project in 2018. During this two-week camp, students were tasked to develop a movie idea, write a script and shoot and produce a film. Throughout the process, students engaged in work experience activities that promoted self-confidence, strong communication skills, ability to work with peers, and, overall, instill a sense of community and pride in one’s abilities. DOR will continue to provide transitional services to the 25 DOR student participants and guide them towards a successful future.

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Did You Know?

DOR and the California Department of Education recently renewed their interagency agreement . This arrangement coordinates local agency agreements and clarifies roles and responsibilities of those providing services such as self-advocacy training and career exploration. It reflects statewide agreement on how to serve students with disabilities in a collaborative way between DOR and education. Partnerships like these can help youth with disabilities succeed in the workforce.

People with Disabilities’ needs were placed at the forefront when DOR was called out of state and into action to assist in the aftermath of Hurricane Florence. Because DOR’s California Functional Assessment Service Team (FAST) has valuable experience and skill assisting individuals with disabilities in an emergency, North Carolina’s disaster recovery effort requested help from California. It is historic that the inclusion of people with disabilities and the consideration of their needs were determined to be an important priority during this disaster.

More than 2.8 million Americans per year sustain a Traumatic Brain Injury or TBI, and these injuries contribute to one third of all injury related deaths in the Nation. A TBI is caused by a bump, blow, or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the normal function of the brain and can range from mild to severe. Depending on the severity of the injury, a TBI can impact one’s memory, ability to communicate, and mental health.

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DOR Forms New Traumatic Brain Injury Advisory Committee

Silhouette of a person with colorful activity on their head

DOR is in the process of forming a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) advisory board that will focus on development of a TBI registry, needs assessment, and sustainable funding through a grant from Administration for Community Living. We recognize external advisors will bring networking opportunities and new resources, as well an outside perspective. This 15-member board is made up of individuals representing individuals with TBI, caregivers, health providers, disability organizations, state agencies, injury control programs, and members of TBI foundations. This committee will bring the entire statewide TBI community into collaboration with the department with their first meeting to be scheduled in January 2019. For more information, contact

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Notable Dates

January 8, 2019 California Vendors Policy Committee meeting

January 11, 2019 California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities meeting

January 18, 2019 Deaf and Hard of Hearing Advisory Committee meeting

January 21, 2019 Martin Luther King Jr. Day – DOR offices are closed

January 23, 2019 Ed Roberts Day

February 11, 2019 Public Forum: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking - Grant Process

February 18, 2019 Presidents’ Day – DOR offices are closed

February 20-21, 2019 State Rehabilitation Council quarterly meeting

March 14, 2019 California Committee on Employment of People with Disabilities Committee meeting

March 31, 2019 Cesar Chavez Day

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