Minnesota State Plan for Assistive Technology
Attachment 2: Lead Agency and Implementing Entity
2.1 Identification and Description of the Lead Agency
Identify and describe the Lead Agency referred to in section 4(c)(1)(A) of the AT Act.
2.1A Identification and Description of Lead Agency if an Implementing Entity is not Designated:
In 1987, then-governor Rudy Perpich formed the Governor's Advisory Council on Technology for People with Disabilities, to help Minnesotans with disabilities improve the quality of their lives through the use of assistive technology. With the passage of the federal Technology-Related Assistance for Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 (also known as the Tech Act), Minnesota received one of the first federal grants from the National Institute on Disability Research and Rehabilitation (NIDRR) designed to help states "develop programs for individuals with disabilities.utilizing new technologies and to enhance the ability of the Federal Government to provide states with technical assistance and funding for model demonstration and innovation projects."
As a result of this grant, Minnesota established the STAR Program in 1989. Since that time, STAR has been working to provide Minnesotans with a statewide, consumer-driven and responsive network of resources related to assistive technology. The program has focused on educating consumers, family members, professionals and others about assistive technology devices and services. STAR has also provided Minnesotans with free access to information and referral services, technical assistance on a variety of AT and disability-related subjects. STAR has an accessible Web site and has built a statewide capacity for AT delivery. With a Braille embosser and audio equipment in house, STAR offers assistance to state agencies and others as a provider for materials in alternate formats.
The mission of the STAR Program is to increase access to and the acquisition of assistive technology for Minnesotans of all ages and disabilities through a variety of comprehensive activities and services available statewide. Over the next three years under the Assistive Technology Act of 1998, as amended, the STAR Program will continue its responsibility for Minnesota's statewide AT Program and will build on already established programs and begin new programs where there are service gaps to accomplish this mission.
The Department of Administration is the lead agency for the statewide AT Program in Minnesota . The STAR Program (an agency within the Department) is directly responsible for conducting and overseeing the activities of the statewide AT Program and will assure that these programs will be accessible regardless of income, age, type of disability, or the reason a person might need AT. Located in the accessible Department of Administration Building in Saint Paul, the STAR Program will make its programs available statewide through a toll-free number, an accessible Web site, conducting activities in all regions of the state on a periodic basis and the use of regional centers that are operated through subcontracts.
The STAR Program employs three dedicated individuals with technical expertise in the field of AT and disability-related experience. The executive director has over 30 years experience in the field of working with people with disabilities and assistive technology; the program and development coordinator (AT certificate through CSUN) has extensive experience in managing an assistive technology program for a non-profit vocational rehabilitation facility, conducting AT assessments, conducting individual and group training, and managing an equipment loan program; and the administrative assistant has over 30 years of state employment experience that includes working with people with disabilities and assistive technology. The STAR Program will ensure that the skills of its staff remain current by providing them with training opportunities throughout the three years covered by this state AT plan.
The STAR Program since its inception has established relationships with public and private entities in the state. STAR staff members participate on boards, advisory councils, workgroups, committees, and commissions that address the needs of Minnesotans with disabilities. Some agencies include: the Minnesota Department of Education, the Secretary of State's Office, the Minnesota Department of Human Services, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the Minnesota Consortium for Citizens with Disabilities, the Minnesota Disability Law Center, State Services for the Blind, Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, Ombudsman's Office, the Developmental Disabilities Council, the Minnesota AT Loan Network, the Minnesota Regions AT Collaborative and the Minnesota Council on Disability. STAR will continue working with and providing training and technical assistance to these agencies and other entities within the state. STAR will also work with these agencies and others on new and ongoing initiatives to address the AT needs of individuals with disabilities. These initiatives are described in more detail as a part of "Coordination and Collaboration" in attachment 8.
STAR will conduct some of its activities through subcontractors throughout the state. This will ensure that programs are available locally to individuals with disabilities. STAR will issue Request for Proposals (RFPs) to establish (or continue) both device demonstration centers and for device loan programs in all parts of Minnesota . The entities chosen must have expertise in various specific areas of disability to help assure that the needs of a broad variety of consumers and professionals are met. In the past five years alone, STAR has subcontracted with about 40 different agencies in the amount of over $736,000 to help assure that assistive technology devices and services are delivered to Minnesotans. Areas of emphasis for some of those subcontracts include: device loan, device demonstration, mobile outreach clinics, AgrAbility, recreation, accessibility and communication, non-profit AT services, AT advocacy, vocational, outreach to non-English speaking populations, AT device recycling, education, AT for adults who are elderly and have a disability and computer access.
In addition to the AT Advisory Council described in attachment 3 of this plan, STAR will ensure that its program is consumer responsive by seeking direct feedback from those who access the program, either through on-site interviews with participants or follow-up surveys. Additionally, STAR will use consumer focus groups, when needed, to seek specific guidance.
2.1B Identification and Description of the Lead Agency if an Implementing Entity is Designated
2.2 Identification and Description of the Implementing Entity
Identify and describe the Implementing Entity referred to in section 4(c)(1)(B) of the AT Act, if such an Implementing Entity is designated by the Governor.
2.3 Show of Good Cause for Change in Lead Agency or Implementing Entity
If the Governor has chosen to change the Lead Agency or, if applicable, Implementing Entity as allowed in section 4(c)(1)(C) of the AT Act, provide an explanation of good cause for this redesignation.