Index of Promising Business Relations Practices

Index of Promising Business Relations Practices

The Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston, in partnership with CSAVR and the NET, is conducting research on business relations and employment for people with disabilities served by state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies. As part of this VR-RRTC on Demand-Side Strategies, ExploreVR created an Index of Promising VR Business Relations practices. The Index is a collection of formal and informal promising practices that are applicable to VR, improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities, and meet a business need.

In order to identify these practices, we conducted a comprehensive web search and review of research efforts to date. We have also distributed a nationwide call for nominations through the VR network to identify emerging practices. If you know of a practice you would like to nominate, please tell us about it here.

Pre-Employment

Pre-Employment

Pre-employment services work with both businesses and clients before anyone is hired. Services can include consultation with employers, skill assessments, internships, or job shadows. Off-site training can qualify if the business is directly involved with the training efforts.


Workforce Development and Business Relations Team

Adult Career and Continuing Educational Services - Vocational Rehabilitation

accesadm@mail.nysed.gov

800-222-5627

Adult Career and Continuing Educational Services - Vocational Rehabilitation
89 Washington Ave., Room 580 EBA
Albany, NY 12234

The ACCES workforce development and business relations team includes a statewide coordinator, who develops relationships with businesses that have a statewide presence; five regional coordinators, who develop relationships with regional companies based on labor market demand; and 15 local workforce development and business relations staff, who develop local business relations and work with the regional and statewide coordinators to implement activities on a broader scale.

The whole team works directly with businesses to understand their employment needs and to find candidates who are appropriate matches. Team members also work closely with job seekers, discovering their skills and placing them in on-the-job trainings (OJTs) and work tryouts. ACCES reimburses 100% of an employee’s wages for up to 480 hours for OJTs and work tryouts.

The ACCES team also provides job coaches, who work with the business and the employee to understand the needs of both. Team members offer assistance on accommodations, tax credits, accessibility, and diversity training. They provide publications about hiring people with disabilities, and celebrate National Disability Awareness month by giving awards to businesses who are committed to hiring people with disabilities in their communities.

The ACCES workforce development and business relations team is aligned with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation national employment team.


Retaining a Valued Employee (RAVE) Program

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services

800-441-7607

602 S. Lawrence St. Montgomery AL 36104

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services created the RAVE program to help businesses support and accommodate employees who have injured on or off the job, or whose performance has been impacted by a disabling condition. The program helps businesses retain injured employees, with or without accommodations.

The RAVE program provides on-site job assessment, problem-solving for returning to work and performing essential tasks, and identification of accommodations. It also provides job-site trainers, offers counseling and education about medical and emotional issues, facilitates employee-employer communication, and suggests modified duty/transitional work options.


Disability Employment Tracker

National Organization on Disability

info@nod.org
646-505-1191 ext.122

77 Water Street, Suite 204
New York, NY 10005

The Disability Employment Tracker helps companies to evaluate their readiness to hire and maintain employees with disabilities. The tool allows businesses to confidentially assess their disability and veteran employment practices, benchmark their efforts against leading practices, and use the results to educate internal stakeholders on successes and opportunities.

The tracker evaluates companies in four areas: climate and culture, employment lifecycle, tracking and measurements, and results and opportunities.


Business Relations Unit

DC Department on Disability Services

dds@dc.gov
(202) 730-1700

1125 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the DC Department of Disability Services has a specialized business relations unit (BRU). The BRU provides services to the business community, such as screening and identifying qualified job applicants, running a subsidized internship program, providing disability education to businesses, and marketing employment opportunities to RSA job seekers.

The BRU also brings businesses to the RSA to educate job seekers and VR counselors about a particular industry, employment opportunity projections, and expectations for successful applicants. The team develops contacts through the agencyÕs membership with the DC Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Area Business Leadership Network, and the DC Jobs Council.


Business Network Unit

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, MI 48909

The Michigan Rehabilitation Services Business Network Unit assists employers by helping to identify physical job demands based on analysis, providing video records of each job, assisting with returning injured employees to work and hiring individuals with disabilities, and performing work risk analysis to pinpoint risks of injury for high-risk jobs.

Unit staffers also train managers, engineers, team leaders, and production personnel on disability-related employment. The VR has developed business relations specialists in each district across the state with monthly training sessions.


National Employment Team

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation

swooderson@rehabnetwork.org
301-519-8023

1 Research Court, Suite 450
Rockville, MD 20850

The National Employment Team (the NET) serves a variety of businesses through the national network of 80 publicly funded vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs. The NET offers business customers a designated single point of contact to connect with qualified job applicants, resources, and support services.

The NET was built in response to feedback from 35 business representatives that work with VR agencies across the country. It supports business customers with recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention of individuals with disabilities.


Talent Acquisition Portal

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation

info@tapability.org
760-519-2617

The Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) is an online system that connects vocational rehabilitation candidates looking for employment with businesses looking to hire qualified candidates. Through TAP, businesses can post open positions, search candidate resumes, capture job metrics, generate compliance reports, interview candidates, hold online career fairs, and have their jobs seen by individuals with disabilities across the country.

HR/Staffing

HR/Staffing

HR/Staffing practices work directly with human resources departments or employers. The goal is to place specific employees in the business or to help employers retain employees who have become disabled or otherwise need additional supports.


Workforce Development and Business Relations Team

Adult Career and Continuing Educational Services - Vocational Rehabilitation

accesadm@mail.nysed.gov

800-222-5627

Adult Career and Continuing Educational Services - Vocational Rehabilitation
89 Washington Ave., Room 580 EBA
Albany, NY 12234

The ACCES workforce development and business relations team includes a statewide coordinator, who develops relationships with businesses that have a statewide presence; five regional coordinators, who develop relationships with regional companies based on labor market demand; and 15 local workforce development and business relations staff, who develop local business relations and work with the regional and statewide coordinators to implement activities on a broader scale.

The whole team works directly with businesses to understand their employment needs and to find candidates who are appropriate matches. Team members also work closely with job seekers, discovering their skills and placing them in on-the-job trainings (OJTs) and work tryouts. ACCES reimburses 100% of an employee’s wages for up to 480 hours for OJTs and work tryouts.

The ACCES team also provides job coaches, who work with the business and the employee to understand the needs of both. Team members offer assistance on accommodations, tax credits, accessibility, and diversity training. They provide publications about hiring people with disabilities, and celebrate National Disability Awareness month by giving awards to businesses who are committed to hiring people with disabilities in their communities.

The ACCES workforce development and business relations team is aligned with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation national employment team.


Retaining a Valued Employee (RAVE) Program

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services

800-441-7607

602 S. Lawrence St.
Montgomery, AL 36104

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services created the RAVE program to help businesses support and accommodate employees who have injured on or off the job, or whose performance has been impacted by a disabling condition. The program helps businesses retain injured employees, with or without accommodations.

The RAVE program provides on-site job assessment, problem-solving for returning to work and performing essential tasks, and identification of accommodations. It also provides job-site trainers, offers counseling and education about medical and emotional issues, facilitates employee-employer com munication, and suggests modified duty/transitional work options.


Customized Trainings

Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services

dors@maryland.gov
888-554-0334

2301 Argonne Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218

When an employer is having difficulty hiring or maintaining qualified employees for a specific position, customized training can be beneficial. In customized training, a job seeker with a disability has the opportunity to receive training directly from the employer for a specific role. Training occurs at the place of business, and can also partially take place in the classroom.

The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services supports businesses to provide customized training, including the transition to full-time employment. Customized trainings have led to successful job outcomes at businesses including CVS (pharmacy technician), OfficeMax Distribution Center (warehouse technician), Hilton Home2Suites (hospitality worker), Collins Collision (auto body technician), large and small bakeries, screen printing businesses, landscaping companies, and animal care providers.


Vermont Progressive Employment Model

Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

866-879-6757

103 South Main Street, Weeks 1A
Waterbury, VT 05671-2303

Vermont Progressive Employment (Vermont PE) is a dual-customer approach that reduces employer risk by providing work opportunities for job seekers on the path to competitive employment. Vermont PE gives vocational rehabilitation employment specialists a range of options to offer to employers. These include on-the-job training, temp-to-hire, work experience with stipends, and company tours and job shadows.

Vermont PE provides individuals with little or no work history, low skill levels, corrections involvement, or other barriers a path into paid employment. It also allows each individual and each business to identify specific training, support, and accommodation needs.


Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation (NVR) Middle-Skills Certificate Program

Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation

marketingteam.vr@nebraska.gov
877-637-3422

P.O. Box 94987
Lincoln, NE 68509

The Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation (NVR) Middle-Skills Certificate Program expands training options to meet demands for middle-skills jobs in a variety of industries. NVR works with community colleges and businesses to design just-in-time training opportunities that allow VR consumers to earn an industry-specific certificate and move into internship positions with employers in the community.

The NVR program takes a two-pronged approach. It partners with community colleges to develop training programs, and works with businesses to accept certificates from program participants, and to employ them.


Disability Employment Specialistis

Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development

DEED.CustomerService@state.mn.us
800-657-3858

1st National Bank Building
332 Minnesota Street, Suite E-200
Saint Paul, MN 55101-1351

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development includes disability employment specialists on its staff. These staffers provide resources and strategic alliances to help businesses to tap the talent pool of people who have disabilities.

Disability employment specialists help streamline the process of finding, recruiting, and hiring workers with disabilities. Services are offered at no cost to businesses, and include assistance with recruitment, on-site job analysis and recommendations for job modification, pre-screening of candidates, on-the-job training, job coaching, and extended employment supports to people with the most significant disabilities.


Granite State Employment Project

Bureau of Developmental Services

contact option on website
603-271-5034

129 Pleasant St.
Concord, NH 3301-3852

The Granite State Employment Project uses multiple strategies to work with employers. Its programs help people learn skills to work in areas such as culinary and hospitality services. The project also runs marketing campaigns to show businesses the benefits of employing people with disabilities, an intensive human resources workshop, and a collaboration of key partners to share ideas. Project staff follow evidence-based standards for supported employment. They also assist people with disabilities to become self-employed, helping them develop a business infrastructure and supporting them through all the steps necessary to establish a business.


Bridges from School to Work Model

Bridges from School to Work

301-380-7771

10400 Fernwood Road
Bethesda, MD 20817

Bridges from School to Work helps businesses meet their workforce needs while offering young people with disabilities the opportunity to learn, grow, and succeed through employment. Each year, Bridges helps more than a thousand young peopleÑmost of whom are transitioning out of high school special educationÑprepare for the workplace and find a job with an employer in need of qualified entry-level applicants.

All Bridges services are guided by three principles: (1) To achieve lasting employment success, the needs of the employer must be understood and met; (2) Bridges focuses on abilities, not disabilities. Businesses hire people who can do the work; if the job match is right, an individualÕs limitations should be largely irrelevant; and (3) The focus should be on long-term employment success, not simply job placement.

Bridges staff deliver services over a 15- to 24-month period. Services can include skills assessment, career planning, job development, placement, evaluation, action planning, and follow-up.


Business Network Unit

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, MI 48909

The Michigan Rehabilitation Services Business Network Unit assists employers by helping to identify physical job demands based on analysis, providing video records of each job, assisting with returning injured employees to work and hiring individuals with disabilities, and performing work risk analysis to pinpoint risks of injury for high-risk jobs.

Unit staffers also train managers, engineers, team leaders, and production personnel on disability-related employment. The VR has developed business relations specialists in each district across the state with monthly training sessions.

Direct Business Services

Direct Business Services

Direct business services assist businesses in understanding and working with people with disabilities. Services can include information on accommodations, disability etiquette, tax benefits, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.


Workforce Development and Business Relations Team

Adult Career and Continuing Educational Services - Vocational Rehabilitation

accesadm@mail.nysed.gov

800-222-5627

Adult Career and Continuing Educational Services - Vocational Rehabilitation
89 Washington Ave., Room 580 EBA
Albany, NY 12234

The ACCES workforce development and business relations team includes a statewide coordinator, who develops relationships with businesses that have a statewide presence; five regional coordinators, who develop relationships with regional companies based on labor market demand; and 15 local workforce development and business relations staff, who develop local business relations and work with the regional and statewide coordinators to implement activities on a broader scale.

The whole team works directly with businesses to understand their employment needs and to find candidates who are appropriate matches. Team members also work closely with job seekers, discovering their skills and placing them in on-the-job trainings (OJTs) and work tryouts. ACCES reimburses 100% of an employee’s wages for up to 480 hours for OJTs and work tryouts.

The ACCES team also provides job coaches, who work with the business and the employee to understand the needs of both. Team members offer assistance on accommodations, tax credits, accessibility, and diversity training. They provide publications about hiring people with disabilities, and celebrate National Disability Awareness month by giving awards to businesses who are committed to hiring people with disabilities in their communities.

The ACCES workforce development and business relations team is aligned with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation national employment team.


Retaining a Valued Employee (RAVE) Program

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services

800-441-7607

602 S. Lawrence St.
Montgomery, AL 36104

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services created the RAVE program to help businesses support and accommodate employees who have injured on or off the job, or whose performance has been impacted by a disabling condition. The program helps businesses retain injured employees, with or without accommodations.

The RAVE program provides on-site job assessment, problem-solving for returning to work and performing essential tasks, and identification of accommodations. It also provides job-site trainers, offers counseling and education about medical and emotional issues, facilitates employee-employer com munication, and suggests modified duty/transitional work options.


Disability Employment Tracker

National Organization on Disability

info@nod.org
646-505-1191 ext.122

77 Water Street, Suite 204
New York, NY 10005

The Disability Employment Tracker helps companies to evaluate their readiness to hire and maintain employees with disabilities. The tool allows businesses to confidentially assess their disability and veteran employment practices, benchmark their efforts against leading practices, and use the results to educate internal stakeholders on successes and opportunities.

The tracker evaluates companies in four areas: climate and culture, employment lifecycle, tracking and measurements, and results and opportunities.


Business Relations Unit

DC Department on Disability Services

dds@dc.gov
(202) 730-1700

1125 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the DC Department of Disability Services has a specialized business relations unit (BRU). The BRU provides services to the business community, such as screening and identifying qualified job applicants, running a subsidized internship program, providing disability education to businesses, and marketing employment opportunities to RSA job seekers.

The BRU also brings businesses to the RSA to educate job seekers and VR counselors about a particular industry, employment opportunity projections, and expectations for successful applicants. The team develops contacts through the agencyÕs membership with the DC Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Area Business Leadership Network, and the DC Jobs Council.


Skilled Workforce Apprentiship Training

South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department

800-832-7526

1410 Boston Ave.
West Columbia, SC 29171

The South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation Department provides Skilled Workforce Apprenticeship Training programs, where clients are matched to the employersÕ positions and needs. They then receive a structured training program for three months or more. The training includes working with a mentor to learn about different aspects of the job including skills, knowledge, and company culture. The department also offers advice on recruitment, tax credits, accommodations, disability etiquette, and the Americans with Disabilities Act.


National Employment Team

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation

swooderson@rehabnetwork.org
301-519-8023

1 Research Court, Suite 450
Rockville, MD 20850

The National Employment Team (the NET) serves a variety of businesses through the national network of 80 publicly funded vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs. The NET offers business customers a designated single point of contact to connect with qualified job applicants, resources, and support services.

The NET was built in response to feedback from 35 business representatives that work with VR agencies across the country. It supports business customers with recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention of individuals with disabilities.


 

Infrastructure Building


Infrastructure Building

Infrastructure building practices are designed to help employers understand some of the benefits of working with people with disabilities and ways other employers have overcome problems. Examples can include online portals, networking events, and awards ceremonies.


Workforce Development and Business Relations Team

Adult Career and Continuing Educational Services - Vocational Rehabilitation

accesadm@mail.nysed.gov

800-222-5627

Adult Career and Continuing Educational Services - Vocational Rehabilitation
89 Washington Ave., Room 580 EBA
Albany, NY 12234

The ACCES workforce development and business relations team includes a statewide coordinator, who develops relationships with businesses that have a statewide presence; five regional coordinators, who develop relationships with regional companies based on labor market demand; and 15 local workforce development and business relations staff, who develop local business relations and work with the regional and statewide coordinators to implement activities on a broader scale.

The whole team works directly with businesses to understand their employment needs and to find candidates who are appropriate matches. Team members also work closely with job seekers, discovering their skills and placing them in on-the-job trainings (OJTs) and work tryouts. ACCES reimburses 100% of an employee’s wages for up to 480 hours for OJTs and work tryouts.

The ACCES team also provides job coaches, who work with the business and the employee to understand the needs of both. Team members offer assistance on accommodations, tax credits, accessibility, and diversity training. They provide publications about hiring people with disabilities, and celebrate National Disability Awareness month by giving awards to businesses who are committed to hiring people with disabilities in their communities.

The ACCES workforce development and business relations team is aligned with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation national employment team.


Retaining a Valued Employee (RAVE) Program

Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services

800-441-7607

602 S. Lawrence St.
Montgomery AL 36104

The Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services created the RAVE program to help businesses support and accommodate employees who have injured on or off the job, or whose performance has been impacted by a disabling condition. The program helps businesses retain injured employees, with or without accommodations.

The RAVE program provides on-site job assessment, problem-solving for returning to work and performing essential tasks, and identification of accommodations. It also provides job-site trainers, offers counseling and education about medical and emotional issues, facilitates employee-employer communication, and suggests modified duty/transitional work options.


Disability Employment Tracker

National Organization on Disability

info@nod.org
646-505-1191 ext.122

77 Water Street, Suite 204
New York, NY 10005

The Disability Employment Tracker helps companies to evaluate their readiness to hire and maintain employees with disabilities. The tool allows businesses to confidentially assess their disability and veteran employment practices, benchmark their efforts against leading practices, and use the results to educate internal stakeholders on successes and opportunities.

The tracker evaluates companies in four areas: climate and culture, employment lifecycle, tracking and measurements, and results and opportunities.


Business Relations Unit

DC Department on Disability Services

dds@dc.gov
(202) 730-1700

1125 15th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the DC Department of Disability Services has a specialized business relations unit (BRU). The BRU provides services to the business community, such as screening and identifying qualified job applicants, running a subsidized internship program, providing disability education to businesses, and marketing employment opportunities to RSA job seekers.

The BRU also brings businesses to the RSA to educate job seekers and VR counselors about a particular industry, employment opportunity projections, and expectations for successful applicants. The team develops contacts through the agencyÕs membership with the DC Chamber of Commerce, the Metro Area Business Leadership Network, and the DC Jobs Council.


Business Network Unit

Michigan Department of Health and Human Services

P.O. Box 30037
Lansing, MI 48909

The Michigan Rehabilitation Services Business Network Unit assists employers by helping to identify physical job demands based on analysis, providing video records of each job, assisting with returning injured employees to work and hiring individuals with disabilities, and performing work risk analysis to pinpoint risks of injury for high-risk jobs.

Unit staffers also train managers, engineers, team leaders, and production personnel on disability-related employment. The VR has developed business relations specialists in each district across the state with monthly training sessions.


National Employment Team

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation

swooderson@rehabnetwork.org
301-519-8023

1 Research Court, Suite 450
Rockville, MD 20850

The National Employment Team (the NET) serves a variety of businesses through the national network of 80 publicly funded vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs. The NET offers business customers a designated single point of contact to connect with qualified job applicants, resources, and support services.

The NET was built in response to feedback from 35 business representatives that work with VR agencies across the country. It supports business customers with recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention of individuals with disabilities.


Talent Acquisition Portal

Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation

info@tapability.org
760-519-2617

The Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) is an online system that connects vocational rehabilitation candidates looking for employment with businesses looking to hire qualified candidates. Through TAP, businesses can post open positions, search candidate resumes, capture job metrics, generate compliance reports, interview candidates, hold online career fairs, and have their jobs seen by individuals with disabilities across the country.