JD-VRTAC Communities of Practice

The JD-VRTAC is hosting communities of practice (CoPs) on Labor Market Information, Business Engagement Data, Paid Work Experiences, and Community Rehabilitation Providers. 

Business Engagement: Flying Solo

In June 2018, the Job-Driven VR Technical Assistance Center (JD-VRTAC) initiated a Community of Practice (CoP) Business Engagement: Flying Solo.  

This is a community of practice for VR agencies that have just 1-2 business engagement representatives/business relations specialists who are covering their entire state. We know that agencies with just 1-2 business engagement staff face unique challenges contacting and engaging business, working collaboratively and communicating effectively with other VR staff, partnering with local one-stops and other agencies, and traversing remote and rural geographies of their stateWe would like create a space for VR agencies to discuss these topics and others in our CoP.  

On this monthly CoP, VR business engagement staff will discuss: 

  • their role as one of the only business engagement staff in the agency 

  • challenges they face and strengths they bring to the job; 

  • innovative strategies or solutions they have implemented in their work; and 

  • questions for the group about business engagement   

For more information about this Community of Practice, please contact Katie Allen at katie.allen@umb.edu from the JD-VRTAC.

Turning Labor Market Facts into Labor Market Information: JDVRTAC/ WINTAC Community of Practice

In March 2018, the Job-Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (JD-VRTAC), VR Research and Training Center on Demand-Side Strategies (Demand-Side RRTC), and the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) began the third phase of our Labor Market Information (LMI) Community of Practice, Turning Labor Market Facts into Labor Market Information. This CoP focuses on counselor use of LMI to strengthen client outcomes. In our first meeting, we discussed different types of real life, unidentified client cases where counselors have or could introduce LMI to clients. For each subsequent meeting, participants share further LMI related client case scenarios with the group.

Read the ReviewVR brief that highlights common LMI practices from state VR agencies that participated in phases 1 and 2 of this Community of Practice.

For more information about this Community of Practice, please contact Katie Allen a tkatie.allen@umb.edu from the JD-VRTAC. 

Business Engagement Data 

The Business Engagement Data Community of Practice (CoP) successfully concluded Phase 1 focused on increasing VR agency capacity to better collect and utilize business engagement data. The CoP facilitators will successfully completed Phase 2 of the Business Engagement Data CoP focused on analyzing data to improve business engagement activities. 
Read our ReviewVR brief from the CoP that outlines solutions and strategies from the group's discussions including: key data elements, strategies for data collection, and lessons learned.
For more information about this CoP, please contact DeBrittany.Mitchell@umb.edu

Paid Work Experiences: Internships, Pre-Apprenticeships and Registered Apprenticeships

The Paid Work Experiences Community of Practice stimulates a rich discussion about current strategies and practices to increase the participation of people with disabilities in paid work experiences. Participants from each state VR agency share their successes and challenges in expanding paid work experiences for their consumers, including a range of perspectives from the states involved.

To join the listserv, send an email to listserv@listserv.uark.edu. Leave the subject line blank and include the following text in the body of the email: ADD APPRENTICESHIP your email address followed by your name

EXAMPLE: ADD APPRENTICESHIP johndoe@email.com John Doe

The Role of CRPs in VR Business Engagement and Employer Support Efforts: JDVRTAC/ WINTAC Community of Practice

This CoP grew out of the Albuquerque Forum held in December 2016, but opened to all who wanted to be part of the conversation. Facilitators from the Job Driven VR TAC (JDVRTAC) and the Workforce Innovation TAC (WINTAC) provided structure and support, and VR agency representatives and CRPs shared challenges, experiences, and solutions. 

This CoP focused on the following topics

  • VR/CRP Communication/Collaboration/Competition
  • CRP Accreditation/Staff Certification/Training/Development
  • CRP Quality/Evaluation/Score Cards/Profiles and Consumer Choice
  • CRP payment structures; fee for service, milestone/outcome, embedded staff
  • Developing and working with CRPs in rural areas
  • Developing/identifying CRPs to work with specialty populations (e.g. blind/visually impaired)
  • Approaching business engagement in a strategic and innovative manner while staying within the boundaries of VR policies and procedures

Communities of practice disseminate research findings, define and expand the understanding of current strategy and policy, and inform local policy makers in participant networks. These communities of practice are part of the JD-VRTAC, a national center housed at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston. The center is funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) within the US Department of Education under grant #H264A140002. The JD-VRTAC is part of ExploreVR, the data hub for a group of vocational rehabilitation research projects at the ICI. The Labor Market Information CoP is also part of the VR Research and Training Center on Demand-Side Strategies, which is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Grant # H133B120002.​