ExploreVR is a web application providing vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies easy and convenient access to a range of VR research,related data, and tools for planning, evaluation, and decision-making. This effort seeks to increase knowledge about the public VR program and its role within the larger employment and disability service system within and across U.S. states and territories.
ExploreVR houses webinars, videos, presentations, journal articles, research briefs, reports, and policy notes about an array of VR related topics. Broadly, ExploreVR topics include: Dual-Customer Strategies, Policies, Program Management, and Targeted Populations.
Open Data Lab
The purpose of the ExploreVR Open Data Lab is to share VR related data with researchers and VR practitioners. The Data Lab provides access to downloadable VR Data Sets, raw VR data and customized analyses. VR counselors can use the data portal to get information about other public employment services in their state. VR staff can compare their agency to other similarly structured VR agencies with respect to employment outcomes, agency partnerships, state demographics and other data points. Ultimately, they can use these results for their planning efforts.
ExploreVR Job-Driven Toolkits provide tools and resources on the following job-driven topics:
VR Program Management Toolkits (Coming soon!)
ExploreVR Program Management Toolkits provide tools and resources on the following VR Program Management topics, including Human Resources (HR), Leadership, and others.
The JD-VRTAC strives to identify, adapt, embed, and sustain job-driven practices that lead to improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The Center creates VR-specific sustainable models of job-driven practices and supports businesses to find and retain productive workers. Outcomes and strategies from the JD-VRTAC will develop a knowledge base on the four topical areas of 1) building and maintaining employer relations, 2) services to employers, 3) labor market information, and 4) services to customized training providers.
The project activities focus on:
- Building state VR agencies’ capacity to improve and expand job-driven employment practices for consumers;
- Using and building upon promising and emerging job-driven strategies;
- Providing three types of technical assistance (TA): intensive TA, targeted/specialized TA, and universal/general TA; and
- Disseminating toolkits and materials pertaining to the use of job driven strategies.
Project partners include:
- Jobs for the Future (JFF)
- The University of Arkansas (UA) CURRENTS
- The University of Washington (UW)
- Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR)
- The US Business Leadership Network (USBLN)
- Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)
- And in collaboration with National Council of State Agencies for the Blind (NCSAB)
For more information about the states currently participating in JD-VRTAC intensive technical assistance, download the JD-VRTAC Intensive TA Sites (PDF)
The Demand-Side RRTC produces knowledge about state VR agencies’ capacity for assessing and meeting business needs. The Demand-Side RRTC engages three state VR agencies in unique on-site laboratories and conducts national surveys, case studies, and secondary data analysis to learn how state VR agencies can meet employer demands in changing economic environments. Outcomes and strategies from the Demand-Side RRTC can be used to inform state VR agencies’ procedures and policies around improving business intelligence, serving the dual-customer, meeting industry demands, and utilizing labor market information, as well as other factors.
The project includes research and technical assistance activities:
- The Alabama Business Intelligence Study on integrating labor market data and trends in the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services Dashboard
- The Nebraska Middle Skill Certificate Study, which expands training options to meet demand for middle skills workers in healthcare and other industry sectors
- The Vermont Progressive Employment Model, on investigating this dual-customer approach with four state VR agencies
- National Survey of State VR Agencies on demand-side strategies
- Index of Case Studies on Demand-Side Strategies and Dual-Customer Practices, which examines promising practices across the country
- VR Outcomes and State Level Labor Needs, which includes secondary data analysis
Technical Assistance Activities
- Topical communities of practice and learning collaboratives
- Intensive, on-site or distance/on-demand TA
- Custom data analysis and evaluation support
Project partners include:
- Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services
- Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation
- Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
- The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR)
The RTAC on VR Program Management (RTAC) identifies, tests, and disseminates VR program management practices that improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. VR agencies can benefit from RTAC by accessing exemplars, tools, and guidance on how to implement these effective practices within their unique contexts. The RTAC has adopted and adapted a learning collaborative method to initiate a cross-VR strategy for problem solving, identification and application of practice-based solutions, and evaluation of related outcomes.
RTAC generates new knowledge by identifying effective practices in the areas of Quality Assurance (QA), Human Resources (HR), Strategic Planning, and more.
Project partners include:
For more information about the RTAC Learning Collaborative VR agencies, download RTAC Learning Collaboratives on VR Program Management (PDF)
The Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Project builds the capacity of VR organizations to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The SGA Project produces new knowledge through administrative data analysis of state VR agency employment outcomes for SSDI consumers, oversight by the Delphi Expert Panel, and case studies from high performing state VR agencies. VR agencies and partner organizations can benefit from the SGA Project through a rigorous examination of agency delivery mechanisms, trainings and manuals for implementing strategies, and on-demand technical assistance.
The SGA Project includes four phases:
- Identification of high-performing state VR agencies, leading to in-depth case studies of their practices;
- Use of a Delphi Panel to review candidate practices and to design a VR employment services model that enables SSDI recipients to return to employment at or above SGA;
- Implementation, testing, and evaluation of the model in selected state VR agencies that will receive substantive training and technical assistance; and
- Dissemination and replication, including the development of training materials, curricula, procedures, and on-demand technical assistance initiatives
Project partners include:
Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR-RRTC) builds the capacity of public VR programs to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The ExploreVR portal was created as part of this project in order to provide a national hub for VR policy data, research, and operations, as well as for training and technical assistance. VR agencies, directors, researchers, and policy makers can contribute to VR-RRTC’s data and research on ExploreVR by participating in case studies, service provider surveys, and state agency surveys. VR personnel can access resources to inform programmatic decisions and policy by reviewing research findings.
The VR-RRTC works to increase knowledge about:
- Existing research on the VR system
- Each state’s employment constellation (the map of its employment service provider
- agencies), and the role of the VR program within that constellation
- Key characteristics of each state’s VR program
- Effective VR agency practices for managing outreach, service access, and case flow to serve
- individuals with the most significant disabilities on a priority basis
- Effective VR agency practices for improving employment outcomes for individuals with
- mental illness, and for those with developmental disabilities.