The Office of Vocational Rehabilitation, the State Rehabilitation Council, and the Interwork Institute at San Diego State University jointly conducted an assessment of the vocational rehabilitation needs of persons with disabilities in the CNMI. The purpose of the assessment was to provide planners with information pertinent to the allocation of resources, to provide a rationale for the development of OVR’s State Plan, and to comply with the needs assessment mandate in the Rehabilitation Act.
The process that was developed for conducting the needs assessment involved four primary data-gathering approaches:
– Focus groups conducted with two stakeholder groups (individuals with disabilities and representatives of organizations that provide services to persons with disabilities),
– Key informant interviews conducted with OVR staff and community partners knowledgeable about the needs of individuals with disabilities in the CNMI,
– Analysis of OVR case service data, and
– Analysis of electronic and hard copy surveys of OVR consumers and community partners.
Through the data collection efforts, researchers solicited information from three primary stakeholder groups: (a) former, current or potential consumers of OVR located throughout Saipan, Tinian and Rota; (b) representatives of organizations that provide services to individuals who are potential or actual consumers of OVR; and (c) OVR staff. The approach was designed to capture input from a variety of perspectives in order to acquire a sense of the multi-faceted needs of persons with disabilities in the CNMI. Efforts were made to gather information pertinent to the following subjects:
– Individuals served by OVR
– Needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment
– Needs of individuals with disabilities from different ethnic groups, including needs of individuals who have been un-served or underserved by the VR program
– Needs of individuals with disabilities served through other components of the statewide workforce investment system
– Needs of individuals in transition
– Needs to establish, develop or improve CRPs (community rehabilitation programs) in the CNMI
– Other needs of individuals with disabilities (not captured in the other categories)
In each of the seven sections, OVR agency data is presented, observations are made based on the data, survey results are analyzed, consensual and recurring themes from the individual and focus group interviews are identified, and then recommendations are made to help OVR effectively meet the identified needs in each area.
The needs assessment project team would like to express their appreciation to each individual who took the time to share their thoughts and concerns by taking part in a key informant interview, participating in the focus group research, or by completing an electronic or hard copy survey.
For more information about the needs assessment report or to obtain a copy, contact the Office of Vocational Rehabilitation at 670) 322-6537/8; TTY: (670) 322-6449; fax: (670) 322-6536; email: email@example.com; or P.O. Box 501521 Saipan, MP 96950. (OVR)