The Business Enterprises of Texas (BET) provides opportunities for VR consumers who are blind to manage food service and vending facilities on public and private properties throughout Texas. BET is a federally sponsored, state administered program. BET supports the Division's goals of independent living and employment.
BET developed from federal legislation enacted in 1936 called the Randolph-Sheppard Act. Under this law, persons who are blind are to be given the first opportunity to operate "vending facilities" on federal properties. The Rehabilitation Act of 1973 also supports the BUSINESS ENTERPRISES OF TEXAS. Operation of BET facilities in Texas is provided by state legislation called "The Little Randolph-Sheppard Act" which parallels the federal act. Title 5, Chapter 94 of the Texas Human Resources Code appoints the Division for Blind Services as the state licensing agency to administer the program.
It is the Division for Blind Services responsibility to certify that a person is qualified to operate a vending facility. A person is certified through the joint efforts of VR and BET staff.
The following are mandatory prerequisites to qualify for BET certification.
The BET curriculum includes assorted college-level business texts, BET standard accounting procedures and forms, cost management, customer service, BET operations and procedures, and other business management training.
BET training for DBS consumers is provided by a BET training specialist in a selected BET training site located in Austin, Texas.
On-the-job training for DBS consumers is provided by a licensed BET manager operating a BET facility.
For every 100 privately owned restaurants that open each year in the United States, only five will survive for 12 months. In other words, the food service industry has a 5% success rate or a 95% failure rate.
The following characteristics and skills have proven to be necessary for a successful BET career.
The individual must be:
The individual must have:
The Field VRC is responsible for obtaining comprehensive diagnostics before referring a consumer to CCRC's general training program with BET-focus.
All diagnostic findings must indicate the consumer's suitability for the BET program.
Required diagnostics include:
In addition to the comprehensive diagnostics listed above, the following assessments are helpful:
If these assessments cannot be completed in the field, the Field VRC should make appropriate arrangements to have the assessments completed at CCRC.
The training required by the consumer's individual circumstances will dictate how the case referral is handled.
If the Field VRC and the consumer agree the individual has the potential to be an appropriate BET candidate but the consumer requires comprehensive blindness training, the Field VRC may refer the consumer to CCRC for Basic Blindness Skills evaluation and training (CCRC's general program) with BET-focus.
Case transfer arrangements should be discussed by the Field and Center counselors. The case transfer should be completed after the consumer has been accepted for CCRC's general training program with BET-focus.
If the BET candidate has exceptional experience (generally defined as a minimum 10 years of operational responsibility for a business) and has demonstrated proficient skills in the use of adaptive technology, orientation and mobility, and independent living skills, the Field VRC should refer the consumer to CCRC for a three to six week comprehensive evaluation to determine the consumer's suitability for the BET program.
Consumers who are accepted into the BET program will not be allowed to attend BET classes if they do not have appropriate equipment. Therefore, during the consumer's CCRC BET-focus training and before the consumer submits their application to the BET program, the Center VRC must ensure that each BET candidate has
Based on the consumer's individualized needs, required equipment is listed below. The Center VRC should note that some consumers will already have some of the listed items. Additionally, many of these items are available through DBS's Distribution Center in Austin.
The Center VRC should go over this list carefully with each BET candidate to ensure the consumer has all of the equipment and supplies they will need to successfully complete their BET training classes.
One model of accessible calculator is available from the LS&S catalog under Stock #CP1213D-M. Several models of talking calculators are available through DBS's Distribution Center in Austin including Stock #40-1080, Stock #40-1081, and Stock #41-1075.
Some consumers may benefit from using a GE/APH desktop recorder (Stock #41-1300). This recorder is larger than the portable recorders and cumbersome to carry around; therefore, consumers may choose to leave it in the class for classroom use.
The Center VRC must ensure that the consumer's general training program with BET-focus includes a two week evaluation at a BET facility.
The licensed BET manager selected to conduct the consumer's evaluation is responsible for:
For this service, the licensed BET manager is paid an instruction and evaluation fee. The Center VRC is responsible for encumbering the funds necessary to pay for the consumer's evaluation.
More than one location and more than one licensed manager may be used for the consumer's BET-facility evaluation, if necessary and/or desirable.
The evaluation period may be terminated or extended by the Supervising Business Consultant (SBC) after consultation with the Center VRC and approval from the BET training specialist.
From the consumer's point of view, the BET-facility evaluation serves two important purposes. First, the experience exposes the individual to the work environment of a licensed manager. Second, the experience helps the consumer determine if they are really interested in becoming a licensed BET manager.
The evaluation results will be used by the SBC to determine whether or not the consumer has the potential to succeed as a licensed BET manager. A score of 3 or better (on a scale of 5) is required to participate in the BET program.
In addition to the BET-facility evaluation, the Center VRC must also ensure the consumer successfully completes the following training.
The determination to allow a consumer to apply for the BET program is based on:
The Center VRC will assist qualified candidates participating in BET-focused training to complete a DARS2201, Business Enterprises of Texas Application for Training.
The following documents must be attached to each consumer's DARS2201:
The Center VRC will send each consumer's completed application packet to the BET training specialist in Austin.
Upon receipt of a complete application packet, BET personnel will schedule and conduct a panel interview to assess the consumer's personal interview skills, appearance, interests, and applicable business knowledge.
During the panel interview, consumers will be scored according to their responses to pre-selected questions. Consumers scoring 80% or better will be considered for acceptance into the BET program.
The Center VRC is responsible for making appropriate arrangements for the consumer's round-trip transportation for their BET panel interview.
The BET training specialist closely monitors all aspects of the consumer's training and considers all recommendations from the field VRC and the center VRC when determining if a consumer will be allowed to enter the BET program.
Consumers (except Austin residents) accepted into the BET program will live at CCRC during the entire BET training process. For these consumers, the center VRC must encumber funds for
Austin residents accepted into the BET program continue to live in the community. Once the consumer has completed his or her CCRC BET-focused training, the center VRC transfers the case back to the field VRC.
For consumers living in the Austin area who have been accepted into the BET program, the field VRC must encumber funds for
Note: If the consumer is not accepted into BET training, the consumer, the center VRC, and the field VRC must discuss other employment opportunities.
When the consumer has completed their BET training program, the Center VRC will:
Consumers who successfully complete their BET training program and receive their BET license will remain on the VR rolls until 90 days after the individual has been assigned a BET facility to manage.
Counselors and consumers should be aware that immediate assignment to a BET facility is not always possible.