Bob Burns

Using the Vermont Progressive Employment Model to Meet Pre-Employment Transition Services Provisions to WIOA

Policy Note Issue NO. 1, 2015

This paper provides a focused, preliminary analysis of the July 2014 amendments to Title I of the Rehabilitation Act regarding the Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) Program. 

This paper is considered a “preliminary” analysis because the US Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration has not yet promulgated regulations, policy directives, or guidance relative to implementation of the amendments, even though the new law took effect for the VR program as soon as the President signed it. 

Our discussion here is focused because it is limited to an analysis of a new service authorized in the legislation—Pre-Employment Transition Services—and its compatibility with an emerging practice in public VR services—Vermont Progressive Employment. 

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Transition to Employment: A Case Study Looking at Improving Outcomes for Transition Age Youth by Including Teachers in the Process

Publication Year: 2013

This case study focuses on the efforts of West Virginia Department of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS) to improve employment outcomes for transition age youth with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

The Student Transition to Employment Project (STEP) provides training for teachers and aides from various county schools to become certified vendors with the West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS). This process allows for a smooth transition from school to work for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD). Students continue the transition process with adult professionals whom they already know and trust, and who are familiar with all aspects of the student’s life. This effort is a partnership between WVDRS, Vocational Services, Inc. (VSI) (a community rehabilitation provider), and special education staff in 24 West Virginia counties. Solely funded by the West Virginia Developmental Disabilities Council (WVDDC) for the first three years, WVDRS is currently providing joint funding for STEP. As of February 2012, 75 teachers have become registered as certified vendors and 73 students have entered employment through this project.

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Case Studies of Emerging/Innovative Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Practices in Improving Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities

Publication Year: 2013

The Vocational Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (VR-RRTC) based at the Institute for Community Inclusion at the University of Massachusetts Boston partnered with a national group of content experts to identify potential promising VR employment practices serving people with psychiatric disabilities. In funding the VR RRTC, NIDRR requested an emphasis on identifying promising practices for two particular populations (people with mental illnesses and people with intellectual disabilities) and to identify promising practices related to order of selection and the designation of most significant disability. This report provides a summary of case studies of VR employment practices for persons with mental illnesses.

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Vocational Rehabilitation and Mental Health Employment Services: True Love or Marriage of Convenience?

Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation 40 (2014) 149–154  (by Joe Marrone, Robert Burns, and Stephaine Taylor)

There is a deep research base in the employment and mental health (MH) field that has supported the development of effective strategies for people with significant psychiatric disabilities. However, overall employment outcomes for people with serious mental illness have not increased significantly. This is true even with the recent emphases on recovery and system change or transformation. While employment continues to be stated as one of the cornerstones of recovery within mentalhealth, vocational rehabilitation (VR) remains a crucial resource through interagency partnerships, funding, training, and policy development. The Institute for Community Inclusion's Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Vocational Rehabilitation (ICI VR-RRTC) did case studies with state VR agencies examining innovations in these areas. This article describes three VR agencies in particular (Delaware, Maryland, Oregon) that served in many ways as excellent exemplars of using the multiple resources, skills, and services models that produced better employment results. It describes each state's specific partnership strategies, then concludes with findings from each as well as an overall analysis of key issues that should be applicable more generally vis-á-vis VR-MH collaboration on employment interventions. 

Toward a Model of VR Program Management: Case Study Findings on Effective VR Management in Strategic Planning, Quality Assurance, and HR

Presentation Date: 10/25/2011

Susan Foley, Robert Burns, and John Halliday from the ICI presented to the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) the case study findings from VR-RTAC. This presentation focused on illustrating the case study findings on effective VR program management practices.