Rehabilitation Services for the Blind Leads Nation in Individual Employment Retention Rates

JANUARY 13, 2020

 — Governor Mike Parson announced that the Federal Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) has ranked the Rehabilitation Services for the Blind (RSB) as the nation’s top performing blind agency for program year 2018 (July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019). 

RSA measured each state’s employment retention six months after a case successfully closed and the individual was no longer receiving support services. Missouri ranked number one with a 68.5 percent retention rate. The national median rate is 38.8 percent. 

“Overcoming obstacles to get into or return to the workforce is tremendously rewarding for the client and our Department of Social Services team members,” Governor Parson said. “We are proud that our state leads the nation in optimizing employment opportunities for individuals with visual impairment, sending a strong message that everyone can be successful in the workforce.”

Missouri even outperformed states where a single general vocational rehabilitation agency includes blind services – that national median rate was 49.2 percent.

“I am extremely proud of Rehabilitation Services for the Blind’s performance,” said Jennifer Tidball, Missouri Department of Social Services Acting Director. “Helping Missourians get a job is one thing, but the true test is the individual’s success as an employee after we are out of the picture. I believe RSB is delivering exactly the results Governor Parson expects to ensure Missourians can become productive, stable, and financially independent citizens.” 

In State Fiscal Year 2018, the RSB Vocational Rehabilitation Program closed 188 cases with successful employment. 

The RSB Vocational Rehabilitation Program is administered by the Department of Social Services’ (DSS) Family Support Division and helps blind and visually impaired individuals work with a rehabilitation team, which may include a rehabilitation counselor, a rehabilitation teacher, and/or mobility specialist, to develop an employment goal. 

These vocational rehabilitation services may include diagnosis and evaluation, counseling and guidance, training, transition services to work, job placement and post-employment, and rehabilitation technology.

The mission of DSS is to lead the nation in building the capacity of individuals, families, and communities to secure and sustain healthy, safe, and productive lives.