Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Meeting called to order at 8:40 AM with the Pledge of Allegiance following roll call.


Robert Kelly, Gloria Mills, Patricia Lipovsky, Mikey Wiseman, Jesus Garcia, Charles Brooks, Sandra Burke, Donte Mickens, Robert Doyle, Director


Lenora Marten


Vicky Magliocchino, Ben Grezesik, Bruce Miles, Leanne Grillot, Sylvia Perez


Sharon Scurry


Tom Austin, Wayne Jennings, Walter Blackmon, Beth Crain, Bryan Michaels, Lynn Ritter, Tony Pileggi, Ana Saint-Fort, Bertha Hyche, Robert Lewis, April Ogden, Dan O’Connor, Stacy Smith,  Madeline Davidson, Jeff Whitehead, Donna Rhoades, Mireya Hernandez, Sandra Brown, Nancy Brown,  Janet Alterman, Bobbie Howard-Davis, Stael Exantus, Michelle Levy, Carolyn Eleby, Juan Carlos Diaz, Denise Valluerca


Paul Edwards, Howard Bell, John Henry, Minna Jia

A motion made to approved the agenda.  The motion passed unanimously.

Director’s Report

Robert Doyle presented the following:

Division of Blind Services (DBS) General update

Gifts and Donations

We distributed information regarding the gifts and donations to the council showing our balances and the distribution of stocks and bonds ratio within the gifts and donations. We haven’t heard back from the DSO Committee in terms of any recommendations. There is fluctuation in the market cycle which is expected. We were a little over $5.1 or $5.3 Million at that time, but the current balance is between $4.8 and $4.9 Million.

Video has been finalized and will be reviewed this afternoon. DBS has been working through the department getting input/feedback to acquire cable advertising. There is a six minute video that will be on our website highlighting consumers in the agency as well as a 30 second video. The idea is to contract with Comcast for coverage through much of the state using the additional dollars. We met with our Department of Education Communication person last week and they want us to align the video, if at all possible, closer to the DOE brand and also include the DOE logo. The marketing video presents perspectives from both the employee and the employer on services and supports provided by the Division of Blind Services (DBS) Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The full length informational video will be used on the DBS Website, Social Media, and distributed through various other avenues.

We are very excited about rolling out our On-line Application where people can apply for services from DBS. Our DBS MIS team has been working diligently on this process.  

The Innovative Project Program is funded through the Gifts and Donations. The funds are provided to the public not-for-profit organizations through the state.  We have made some changes to the application and reimbursement process, and have been negotiating with the department in terms of what are the next steps in getting the advertisement out to the public. We are making sure we streamline the process so that it is better on the latter end.  The approval has to go through legal, contracts and the commissioner’s office and her designee before we can advertise. Once the application is advertised to the public and is sent back, it goes through a review committee. The review committee would make recommendations to the director. Those approved would receive a letter in the mailed stating you are the entity that has been approved and then we will finalize agreements. Our goal is that it would only require the approval of the director, the entity that we are contracting with, and the commissioner.

Division of Blind Services Community Outreached Awareness Initiative Program.  We will make a presentation at out next meeting in February 2016 regarding this initiative. The Direct Support Organization (DSO) has given us funds to use for this project.

BBE Update

The Bureau of Business Enterprise program has secured two additional military bases; the Panama City Naval Air Station and Camp Landing.  This is a $1.3 Million dollar operation which began on September 1, 2015.  This gives us new opportunities for vendors through the BBE program.

In some of our Tallahassee buildings, we encountered an insect issue and have implemented some very stronger monitoring processes throughout all of our facilities in the BBE Program. As a result of the inspection by Department of Professional Regulations, fewer locations last month actually had zero findings.

Rehab Center

One of the things talked about in last year’s State Plan is strengthening our Rehab Center.  We have been going through the process over a year ago, and with the SWAT analysis identified, we are really excited about utilizing a Pre-Employment Training Program (PEP) developed by Dr. Karen Wolffe. The program has two tracks and is designed for students ages 14 to 17, 18 and older. It is a four week intensive residential training program for adults. We hope to start this adult training program in late April of 2016. Also, during the summer we would like to bring in individuals who are not anticipating going directly to college, but are looking for employment. This PEP program is designed to be an additional track/resource through the rehab center to the district offices and the clients. It is not design to stand in the way of services that are provided through the CRP’s. The PEP participants may enter the rehab center, and after that process they may be placed at that time with a local CRP.  We are pleased to have this strong focus at the rehab center in making sure we are getting folks ready for employment.

Tampa Office

The Tampa office has been flooded. There is an estimated cost of $500,000 to $600,000 of damage to the furniture and the building. We are trying to locate some of the funds to pay the bills that are incurring at present.  We are thinking about submitting a budget amendment to ask the legislature to provide some of the funds. Also, trying to figure out how much of our VR dollars we can use since it is a state facility. There is about $300,000 in insurance coverage.


There was lengthy discussion regarding the Tampa building repairs. The goal is to get a legislative appropriation and use the Gifts and Donations funds if absolutely necessary in order to get the Tampa office reopened.

Robert Kelly – Discussion tabled.

Employer Recognition

Robert Doyle – This is the part of the agenda we typically take time to recognize a local employer who has been engaged in hiring individuals with disabilities in this area. We have our own Dan O’Connor to present the Employer Award.

If you would like to know more of what the City of Jacksonville Disabled Services            has done, please visit website:  www.Jaxada.com

Morning Break (take photos)

VR Goals and Update

Wayne Jennings

Tom Austin – Presented the District Supervisors with plaques recognizing their great work in meeting the goals set for the 2014 – 2015 State Fiscal Year (SFY).  Last year we had 713 closures; this past SFY year we had 761; for FFY we had 722 closures and this year we have 772. An award was presented to Leigh Ann Bellamy for the most successful closures throughout the state. Recognized Stacy Smith for the most placement throughout the state. We have created a District of the Year award.  This will be a traveling award and this year it is awarded to District 9. I would like to also thank Brian Michaels, Lynn Ritter, Wayne Jennings and Walter Blackmon for doing such a fine job in the State Office.

Wayne Jennings provided an update on VR goals, which are attached to these minutes.

State Plan Discussion

Dr. Antionette Williams presented the following report:

This document will be revised based on comments provided. The FRCB will have another opportunity to review the document as part of the unified state plan documents that will be published in 2016. The Unified State Plan is to be submitted to the Rehabilitation Services Administration, U.S. Department of Education/U.S. Department of Labor by March 3, 2016.


WIOA Taskforce

Robert Doyle – The recommendations of the taskforce went before the CareerSource Board.  The CareerSource Board had some discussions around the table. A number of questions dealt with infrastructure, in terms of technology systems and infrastructure cost regarding which entities are putting money into the Career Source locations. There is a Strategic Policy council of the CareerSource Board that met on October 14 and refined some of the recommendations of the taskforce. There is going to be a meeting November 4 or 5th where we are expecting that the CareerSource Board is going to adopt the taskforce recommendations.  Looks like the majority of the recommendations are going to be very similar to what was initially presented.

Attached is a copy of the recommendations.


Client Satisfaction Survey

Robert Kelly

In a previous meeting we had some discussion about revamping the satisfaction survey.  A committee was formed that includes: Mikey Wiseman, Bruce Miles, Sylvia Perez, Sandra Burke, Charles Brooks, Jesus Garcia, Robert Kelly, Paul Edwards and Robert Doyle to review the survey instrument.

Dr. Minna Jia - Director of Florida State University Survey Research Laboratory (SRL) provided the council with a full report prior to the meeting and discussed the report.

This report summarizes the data collected for the first quarter of the 2015-16 fiscal year.  This report includes cases closed between July 1, 2014 and September 30, 2015. The Customer Satisfaction Survey of former Division of Blind Services (DBS) clients gathers perspectives of former DBS clients concerning program services, levels of satisfaction, and areas for program improvement.  This report describes the methods used and presents the first quarter of 2015-15 results. 

A copy of the report is attached to the minutes.

Lunch Break


District Administrators Report

Robert Lewis, DA presented a report to the council. A copy of the report is attached.

One of the main goals that Mr. Lewis emphasized is his desire to increase communication, efficiency, productivity and accountability. He felt that the district is moving forward and is on the right track. 


Report from Vision Education & Rehabilitation Center at
Florida State College at Jacksonville

Patricia Marshall presented a report to the council.  A copy of the report is attached.

Report from Elder Care of Alachua County/Independence with Low Vision

Lynn Zirkelbach presented a report to the council.   A copy of the report is attached.

Anthony Clarizio, Executive Director of Elder Care of Alachua County, provided additional information related to transportation issues in Alachua County.  He discussed a proposed resolution and the support of the Mayor to provide funds for a pilot project. He noted that Elder Care is working with Freedom in Motion, a first-of-its kind, Uber app-based, ride on demand program for seniors being piloted in Gainesville.  Eligible enrolled Gainesville seniors will be able to request transportation in minutes to select locations using Freedom in Motion.

Freedom in Motion has been created exclusively for Gainesville Seniors ages 60 and older.  During the pilot program, Freedom of Motion will be available to seniors who are residents of the 400 Building or Turkey Creek Forest.  Both of these communities have residents who are visually impaired and would benefit from the program.

Mr. Clarizio indicated that Uber provides safe, affordable transportation options and the Freedom of Motion rides are further subsidized by the City of Gainesville. The service is much more affordable for eligible seniors than the traditional means of senior transportation. Eligible enrolled seniors will be provided a limited capacity smartphone through which they can access Freedom of Motion through the Uber app, as well as call 911 and other critical contacts.

Freedom of Motion is made possible in this area by a partnership among ride-sharing company Uber, the City of Gainesville, Eldercare of Alachua County, and the Gainesville Area Chamber of Commerce. After each trip, seniors can rate their experience and leave additional feedback about drivers directly through the Uber application.

Elder Care/Independence with Low Vision
January 1/2014-December 31/2014

DOE/DBS Program                   Clients Served           
Independent Living                            
           Older Blind                           68
           Adult Blind                           10

For additional information contact: zirkel@shands.ufl.edu or call 352-265-8746


Florida Center for the Blind

Anissa Brescia presented a report to the council. A copy of the report is attached.


FCRB members discussed the Florida Center for the Blind report and suggested the center provide more outreach to develop a relationship with the community. It was also suggested that the center might think about doing a live interview on the radio station. 

Most of the referrals are from the Division of Blind Services and Shands.

As a fund raiser, Florida Center will host a Dinning in the Dark event next year and add an extra step by escorting participants to their seat in the darkness.  This is another opportunity for public service.  Also, a self-defense class will be offered in November that is geared to the visually impaired.

Robert Kelly – Thank you for your presentation.

Afternoon Break--

DBS Marketing Video

Robert Doyle

One of the things that have been identified more than two years ago is the need to highlight services.  We have been working on a number of initiatives from the comprehensive outreach program.  We talked earlier about the See Different Initiative.  We set up our social media site as a way to give more exposure to DBS.  Obviously, we need to work with the medical community as well.

The Direct Support Organization (DSO) gave DBS more than $50,000 to create marketing videos that can be used to expose businesses to the abilities of individuals who are blind and visually impaired. The DBS communication unit is working with a production company to create a marketing video to advertise the benefits of hiring clients of the DBS. This video presents perspectives from both the employee and the employer on the services and supports provided by the DBS Vocational Rehabilitation Program. The targeted audience of the video is primarily businesses. The idea is for others to see the video and have an opportunity to make referrals to the agency for services. Our goal is to use them through Comcast or their Website. We have been working with DOE communications, and they want us to add the DOE logo as well so that we have the DOE/DBS exposure prior to moving forward with advertising.
These services and supports include higher education and vocational training programs, counseling and guidance provided by our VR counselors, equipment and/or software and training on how to use them, workspace modifications, etc. The full length informational video will be used on our website, social media, and distributed through various other avenues.  The shorter 15 and 30 second clips were pulled out to use as commercials via Comcast on their website Xfinity.com. 


Florida School for the Deaf & Blind

Kim Carr

Ms. Carr spoke to the council regarding the Parent Infant Program at FSDB. The program has contracts with Jacksonville/Gainesville and the other is in West Palm Beach. The program employs 30 Parent Advisors and 2 Regional Coordinators full-time. Home visits are also provided to work directly with the children and their families.

Ms. Carr stated that the Parent Infant Program serves 137 children in District 3 with 18 Parent Advisors and 2 Regional Coordinators and 76 children in District 10 with 9 Parent Advisors. These services are provided in the homes and in the child’s natural environment on a weekly basis.  What makes our program unique is that all the Parent Advisors are part-time (except the Regional Coordinators), which provides the opportunity to see families in the evenings and on weekends. They attend doctor appointments, school meetings and other events requested by the families.
Each of the Parent Advisors receives specialized training in working with families with sensory loss. These trainings are offered through FSDB to any professional throughout the state of Florida who works with children with sensory loss. One of the programs offered is the VIISA curriculum (Vision Impaired In-service in America) which is designed for children who are blind/visually impaired, and it focuses on learning through the senses, orientation and mobility, communication skills, developmental skills, and transitioning into a school system.  The other program which is offered is the INSITE curriculum (IN-home Sensory Impaired Training and Education). The INSITE program offers home-based support and resources for families with infants, toddlers and preschoolers, age birth to five, with sensory impairments and additional disabilities. Both of these curriculums are developed by the SKI-HI Institute at the University of Utah.

The DBS Marketing Video was shown to the FRCB.


FRCB members stated the video was great and they would really like to see in every EPS’s packet.   We understand that it is going to be on Comcast website. This seems like a great corner stone for presentations to the Chamber of Commerce and local business groups.  Also, a wonderful introduction to DBS, and an opportunity to showcase some of the skills that we can deliver to potential employers.
DBS has $35,000 that was left for distribution online.  We can make the video available on disk and flash drive.  Lauren Williams and the DA’s have been working to establish a relationship with various Chamber of Commerce.

FRCB stated that if the video is going live on the internet, our EPS’s should visit job fairs making their presence known and putting DBS name out there.  Also, that it be placed in a sharable format and sent to all the CRP’s to share on social media. This lets the employers know DBS is out to support our visually impaired.  When a person goes to get a job, and they try to explain everything that DBS will do, they never seem to get it across correctly.  This is really a good video and a great tool for using in the future to build long standing relationships.  Congratulations on the Video!

Meeting adjourned at 3:44 PM

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DISCLAIMER: Links on the Florida Division of Blind Services (DBS) website that are directed toward websites outside the DBS, provide additional information that may be useful or interesting and are being provided consistent with the intended purpose of the DBS website. DBS cannot attest to the accuracy of information provided by non-DBS websites. Further, providing links to a non-DBS website does not constitute an endorsement by DBS, the Florida Department of Education or any of its employees, of the sponsors of the non-DBS website or of the information or products presented on the non-DBS website.