Program on Innovative Rehabilitation Training on Employer Engagement (PIRTEE): Employer Engagement Curriculum Modules

Module 1: Foundations of Employer Engagement 

Lesson 1Understanding the Employer Engagement Dual-customer Vision of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) 

November 17, 2020 (2-4 PM EST) 


  • Explore the evolution of Employer Engagement and Vocational Rehabilitation 

  • Discuss WIOA regulations for serving dual-customers and the implications for Vocational Rehabilitation 

  • Advantages of Employer Engagement to employers and job seekers 

  • Introduction to and overview of National Employment Team (NET) and Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) 


Lesson 2- Embracing the Dual-customer Approach 

November 24, 2020 (2-4 PM EST) 


  • Power of language: business terminology; using and facilitating disability sensitive language 

  • Establishing dual customer within the VR structure; internal and NET communication 

  • Soliciting employer feedback and using survey data to guide agency Employer Engagement activities 


Lesson 3- Preparing for, Coordinating and Initiating Employer Engagement Activities 

November 30, 2020 (2-4 PM EST) 


  • Understanding types, sources, and ways to utilize Labor Market Information 

  • Initiating business contacts; developing customized elevator pitches 

  • Preparation for addressing employers questions and concerns 

  • Understanding and addressing employer timing vs. agency timing 


Module 2: Strategies and Practices of Employer/ Business Engagement

Lesson 1- Community Connections Leading to Business Relationships 

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 (2-4 PM EST) 


  • Establishing Employer Engagement connections and partnerships with community partners and agencies 

  • Utilizing Business Roundtables and/or Advisory Committees 

  • Communicating Employer Engagement activities and expectations with contracted partners 


Lesson 2- Building an Employer Engagement Portfolio 

Tuesday, December 15, 2020 (2-4 PM EST) 


  • Developing a back-pocket knowledge basefundamentals for Business Engagement specialists (including ADA, Worker’s Comp, wage and hour laws, Family Medical Leave Act; for BE staff to have fundamental knowledge and resources for additional information) 

  • Agency-led training opportunities for businesses (developing topic areas and opportunities) 

  • Preparing marketing and outreach materials to support Employer Engagement objectives  


Lesson 3- Building Partnerships 

Thursday, December 17, 2020 (2-4 PM EST) 


  • Overview of the variety of types and advantages of job fairs 

  • Establishing Work-based Learning as mechanisms for partnering with and supporting businesses 

  • Utilizing business satisfaction and priority surveys to guide partnership activities 

  • Opportunities and methods for demonstrating business appreciation and recognition  


Module 3: Strategic and Ethical Employer Engagement

Coming soon: April 2021 (specific dates to be determined) 

In order to help VR agency staff appropriately and successfully engage businesses, this module will look at the dynamics of and strategies for engaging different types and sizes of businesses. Employer Engagement strategies may differ depending on the structure, nature, geographic location, and size of the employer.  

  • Evaluate and examine a variety of employers (sector, size, locality, etc.)  and determine examples of strategies that may be used for Employer Engagement activities 

  • Developing unique and flexible customized Employer Engagement partnerships 

  • Reviewing some possible environmental and economic worst-case scenarios and determining strategies for problem-solving and adjusting Employer Engagement practices, as needed.


Ethical Behavior and Issues within Employer Engagement:  

There are a myriad of ethical situations and quandaries that can arise when working in Employer Engagement. This section will focus on considerations in the following areas: 

  • Determining and establishing relationship boundaries 

  • Avoiding and being aware of the pitfalls of favoritism 

  • Strategies for avoiding situations that compromise ethical standards 

  • Reviewing case studies and discussing ways to ensure that all decisions are ethical and inclusive 

  • Being aware of the CRC code of ethics as a professional resource 


Module 4: Taking Employer Engagement to the Next Level: Emerging and Promising Practices

Coming soon: May 2021 (specific dates to be determined) 

Relationships have been established between Vocational Rehabilitation and businesses. It is now time to cultivate creative, new and exciting opportunities with businesses to further meet the need their hiring and workforce needs. A variety of promising and emerging practices will be highlighted in this module, as well as others that are familiar, but may be considered and utilized in a new light.  

All of the practices that will be discussed require a nuanced, intuitive and flexible mindset and are intended to serve as a taste of the possible, creative solutions in which Employer Engagement practices can result.  

Opportunities for additional partnerships include: 

  • Customized Employment: working with employers to evaluate their unmet needs and utilize techniques such as job carving to match job seekers to their business needs  

  • Work-based learning opportunities: helping youth and adults evaluate career paths and employers meet and train potential job seekers and employees 

  • Progressive Employment Model: using an employment model to emphasize greater employer interaction and responsiveness to employer needs, as well as more rapid work engagement for consumers 

  • Career Pathwaysfocusing on career advancement for workers with disabilities in high-growth/high-demand industries 

  • Upskill/backfill model: working with employers to provide advancement opportunities for incumbent workers and fill vacated positions with entry-level workers; assisting employers with staff retention and training