On March 3, 18 Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies from across the nation attended the JD-VRTAC Targeted Technical Assistance Forum, Developing a Business Relations Structure: Lessons Learned from VR Trailblazers, in San Antonio, TX. The University of Arkansas, CURRENTS and the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) organized this forum as part of the Job-Driven VR Technical Assistance Center.
Representatives from six state VR agencies presented on panels and facilitated round-table discussions about their agencies’ experiences engaging businesses as customers.
The presenting agencies were:
- Delaware Division of Vocational Rehabilitation
- California Department of Rehabilitation
- Pennsylvania Office of Rehabilitation
- Vermont Vocational Rehabilitation
- Texas Department of Assistive and Rehabilitation Services
- Nebraska Vocational Rehabilitation
The six agencies provided information on the following:
- Goals and primary functions of their agencies’ business relations models.
- Staff structure of business relations at their agency.
- Agency approaches to communication about business relations.
- Mechanism for incorporating labor market information into business relations activities.
- Business relations data collection and measures of success.
- Challenges their agencies faced throughout the process of structuring business relations units.
Senior Research Fellow Susan Foley, PhD, and Research Study Coordinator May-Lorie St. Laurent, MPH, presented findings from the ICI research team’s 2014 National Survey of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Agencies and Business Relations. View the PowerPoint presentation here.
Kathy West-Evans of CSAVR interviewed Peggy Anderson, administrator of the business relations program at the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services, about the business relations structure at Alabama DRS, the longest-standing business relations program in the country.
Download the PowerPoint presentation from the Targeted Technical Assistance Forum here.
This forum was sponsored by the RSA-funded Job-Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (JD-VRTAC), and the Vocational Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Demand-Side Strategies, which strive to identify, adapt, embed, and sustain job-driven practices that lead to improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities.
The JD-VRTAC is 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 VR-RRTC on Demand-Side Strategies is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Grant # H133B120002.