[Federal Register Volume 78, Number 51 (Friday, March 15, 2013)]
[Proposed Rules]
[Pages 16447-16448]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2013-06077]



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DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

34 CFR Part 75 and Chapter III


Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (RCEP) for the 
Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Centers (TACE Centers); 
Proposed Extension of Project Period and Waiver

[Catalog of Federal Domestic Assistance (CFDA) Number: 84.264A.]

AGENCY: Rehabilitation Services Administration, Office of Special 
Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS), Department of Education.

ACTION: Proposed extension of project period and waiver.

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SUMMARY: For 60-month projects initially funded in fiscal year (FY) 
2008 under the Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program (RCEP) for 
the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Centers (TACE 
Centers), the Secretary proposes to waive the requirements that 
generally prohibit project periods exceeding five years and extensions 
of project periods involving the obligation of additional Federal 
funds. The Secretary also proposes to extend project periods for one 
year or longer. The proposed extension and waiver would enable the 
currently funded TACE Centers to receive funding through September 30, 
2014.

DATES: We must receive your comments on or before April 15, 2013.

ADDRESSES: Address all comments about this proposed extension of 
project period and waiver to RoseAnn Ashby, U.S. Department of 
Education, 400 Maryland Avenue SW., Room 5055, Potomac Center Plaza, 
Washington, DC 20202-2800.
    If you prefer to send your comments by email, use the following 
address: roseann.ashby@ed.gov. You must include the phrase ``Proposed 
extension of project period and waiver'' in the subject line of your 
message.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: RoseAnn Ashby at the address listed in 
the ADDRESSES section of this notice. Telephone: (202) 245-7258.
    If you use a telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD) or a text 
telephone (TTY), call the Federal Relay Service (FRS), toll-free, at 1-
800-877-8339.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 
    Invitation to Comment: We invite you to submit comments about this 
proposed extension of project period and waiver. During and after the 
comment period, you may inspect all public comments about this proposal 
in room 5055, Potomac Center Plaza, 550 12th Street SW., Washington, 
DC, between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Washington, DC time, 
Monday through Friday of each week except Federal holidays.
    Assistance to Individuals With Disabilities in Reviewing the 
Rulemaking Record: On request, we will supply an appropriate 
accommodation or auxiliary aid to an individual with a disability who 
needs assistance to review the comments or other documents in the 
public rulemaking record for this notice. If you want to schedule an 
appointment for this type of accommodation or auxiliary aid, please 
contact the person listed under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.

Background

    On June 5, 2008, and October 20, 2008, the Department published 
notices in the Federal Register (73 FR 32006, 73 FR 62263) inviting 
applications for new awards for FYs 2008 and 2009 for TACE Centers to 
be funded under the Rehabilitation Training Program, authorized under 
section 302 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended 
(Rehabilitation Act). The Department awarded grants to a total of 10 
TACE Centers--eight in FY 2008, and two in early FY 2009--for a period 
of 60 months. All 10 projects are scheduled to end in calendar year 
2013.
    For these projects, the Secretary proposes to waive the 
requirements in 34 CFR 75.250 and 34 CFR 75.261(c)(2), which prohibit 
project periods exceeding five years and project period extensions that 
involve the obligation of additional Federal funds. The Secretary also 
proposes to extend the project periods for up to 12 months to continue 
operations.
    The purpose of these Centers is to improve the quantity and quality 
of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities through 
enhanced technical assistance (TA) and continuing education (CE) for 
State vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and agency partners that 
cooperate with State VR agencies in providing VR and other 
rehabilitation services (e.g., Centers for Independent Living (CILs), 
Client Assistance Programs (CAPs), and Community Rehabilitation 
Programs (CRPs)).
    The TACE Centers contribute to the following outcomes: Improved 
quality of VR services, increased effectiveness and efficiency of State 
VR agencies in delivering VR services, and improved quantity and 
quality of VR employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. 
The TACE Centers must contribute to these outcomes by providing, either 
directly or through contract, TA to State VR agencies and agency 
partners. The TACE Centers must also provide CE to employees of State 
VR agencies and agency partners on topics that are identified jointly 
by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and each TACE 
Center's advisory committee, and included in the TACE Center's annual 
work plan.
    At this time, the Department does not believe that it would be in 
the public interest to run a competition under this program for new 
TACE Centers. The Department is in the process of reviewing and 
analyzing the current program to determine future needs, strategies, 
and funding priorities for FY 2014.
    On November 8, 2012, the Department published a request for 
information in the Federal Register (77 FR 66959) to allow the 
Department to gather input on grants awarded under the Rehabilitation 
Training Program. One section of this notice posed specific questions 
about how the provision of TA and CE to State VR agencies would be most 
effective and efficient. The Department is currently analyzing 
responses to these questions. The Department also plans to conduct 
several focus groups, meet with the representatives of several national 
rehabilitation organizations over the next six months, and pose similar 
questions to these groups. The analysis of the public input obtained 
from the request for information and the input gathered through meeting 
with groups of rehabilitation stakeholders will form the basis for 
future funding priorities.
    Since 2008, when the TACE Centers were established, the TA and CE 
needs of the field have changed as a result of new issues and economic 
challenges facing State VR agencies. In addition, as a result of 
technological advances, there are new modes of service delivery that 
must be fully explored before funding new grants to provide TA and CE 
to State VR agencies. The Department will need the remainder of FY 2013 
to meet with groups of stakeholders and to do the necessary analysis of 
the public comments received. This will enable the Department to 
develop a TA and CE strategy for State VR agencies and their partners 
that maximizes the effectiveness and efficiency of the services 
provided and addresses the input of a broad spectrum of stakeholders. 
The Department plans to publish new funding priorities in FY 2014. 
Conducting a competition before the Department has had an opportunity 
to seek input from all stakeholders and analyze the current and 
emerging TA and CE needs of the VR field could result in an ineffective 
or poorly

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targeted investment that would not serve the needs of State VR 
agencies, their clients, or the public at large.
    The Department has also concluded that it would be contrary to the 
public interest to have a lapse in the provision of TA and CE currently 
provided by the TACE Centers. Allowing funding to lapse before a new TA 
and CE delivery system can be implemented would leave State VR agencies 
and their partners without necessary supports in the event that 
critical needs arise.
    For these reasons, the Secretary proposes to waive the requirements 
in 34 CFR 75.250, which prohibit project periods exceeding five years, 
and the requirements in 34 CFR 75.261(c)(2), which limits the extension 
of a project period if the extension involves the obligation of 
additional Federal funds, and to issue continuation awards to the ten 
current TACE grantees for a total amount not to exceed $9,000,000. 
Under this proposal, the eight current TACE grantees with project 
periods ending on September 30, 2013, would receive funding to operate 
for an additional 12 months. The two current TACE grantees with project 
periods ending on December 21, 2013, would receive funds for an 
additional nine months. Consequently, the expiration date for all 10 
grants would be September 30, 2014. Waiving these regulations and 
issuing these continuation awards will ensure that TA and CE to State 
VR agencies and their partners will not be interrupted. It will also 
ensure that the Department has adequate opportunity to solicit feedback 
and develop a coordinated TA and CE strategy that will best meet the 
needs of State VR agencies and their partners.
    With this proposed extension of project period and waiver, each 
TACE Center will be required to continue to carry out activities during 
the year of the continuation award consistent with the scope, goals, 
and objectives of the grantee's application as approved in the 2008 
competition.

Regulatory Flexibility Act Certification

    The Secretary certifies that this proposed extension of project 
period and waiver would not have a significant economic impact on a 
substantial number of small entities. The only entities that would be 
affected are the ten current grantees receiving Federal funds to serve 
as the TACE Centers and any other potential applicants.
    The Secretary certifies that the proposed waivers and extensions 
would not have a significant economic impact on these entities because 
the proposed waivers and extensions impose minimal compliance costs to 
extend projects already in existence, and the activities required to 
support the additional year of funding would not impose additional 
regulatory burdens or require unnecessary Federal supervision.

Paperwork Reduction Act of 1995

    This notice of proposed extension of project period and waiver does 
not contain any information collection requirements.
    Intergovernmental Review: This program is subject to the 
requirements of Executive Order 12372 and the regulations in 34 CFR 
part 79. One of the objectives of the Executive order is to foster an 
intergovernmental partnership and a strengthened federalism. The 
Executive order relies on processes developed by State and local 
governments for coordination and review of proposed Federal financial 
assistance. This document provides early notification of our specific 
plans and actions for this program.
    Accessible Format: Individuals with disabilities can obtain this 
document in an accessible format (e.g., braille, large print, 
audiotape, or compact disc) on request to the contact person listed 
under FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT.
    Electronic Access to This Document: The official version of this 
document is the document published in the Federal Register. Free 
Internet access to the official edition of the Federal Register and the 
Code of Federal Regulations is available via the Federal Digital System 
at: www.gpo.gov/fdsys. At this site you can view this document, as well 
as all other documents of this Department published in the Federal 
Register, in text or Adobe Portable Document Format (PDF). To use PDF 
you must have Adobe Acrobat Reader, which is available free at the 
site.
    You may also access documents of the Department published in the 
Federal Register by using the article search feature at: 
www.federalregister.gov. Specifically, through the advanced search 
feature at this site, you can limit your search to documents published 
by the Department.

    Dated: March 12, 2013.
Michael Yudin,
Acting Assistant Secretary for Special Education and Rehabilitative 
Services.
[FR Doc. 2013-06077 Filed 3-14-13; 8:45 am]
BILLING CODE 4000-01-P