RRTC on Improving Vocational Rehabilitation Services for Individuals Who Are Blind or Have Severe Visual Impairments
Counselors, supervisors, and trainers of the BEP program, and licensed blind facility managers.
Study purpose or goal:
To identify training needs and appropriate training delivery systems along with questions about preference of distance education classes, regular conferences, etc
Who administers this tool?:
The Facility Manager survey was sent to Elected Committee members in each state along with a self-addressed, stamped envelope. The Counselor Survey was sent to each state BEP director who, in turn, distributed the survey to BEP counselors in their state
Are any approvals required?:
What is the scope or what areas does it cover?:
The survey is specific to the Randolph Sheppard program, as was the development process. The survey is designed and intended to get at specific training issues in the Randolph-Sheppard program
The survey was also shared with the Rehabilitation Services Administration Chief of the vending facility branch
Development of the Randolph-Sheppard Business Enterprise Program (BEP) Survey included a literature and database review of research on the BEP program, the majority of it produced by RRTC staff. It also included a review of literature in the field of blindness and visual impairments. Development included consultation and input from members of the Randolph-Sheppard Committee, National Council of State Agencies for the Blind, a standing committee focusing on the Randolph-Sheppard program
The development of the survey included a significant consumer component: Researchers established a PAR team, developed an initial draft, and shared it with the team, including presidents and executive boards of the National Association of Blind Merchants
Can this development process be used elsewhere?:
The survey is unique to the Randolph-Sheppard Program but could be modified as needed regarding program elements.
Respondents must have knowledge of and experience with the Randolph-Sheppard program.
Data analyses were completed using rank order and descriptive statistics. The main finding regards the training format: which of the offered formats is most desired. Both groups agreed that regional conferences would be the preferred format (75% and 51%). Audio teleconferencing received a very low rating. Online distance learning rated low
Impact of these findings on the field:
The data gathered and analysed will help to develop training programs to meet manager needs and will impact upon the program nationwide. The research will lead to more accountability in the program. Earnings will increase. Number of new facilities opened should increase. Overall improvement should be seen, for example: where food service training (food manager certification) was done, instances of food poisoning should go down.
Who uses the collected data?:
Managers and counselors definitely wanted on-site, hands-on training. In terms of training topics: Supervising employees ranked highest. Sexual harassment ranked lowest. Counselors and Managers ranked items almost identically.
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