Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Vocational Rehabilitation

Vocational Rehabilitation Human Resources (HR) Guidebook



This collection of materials available throughout the Human Resources (HR) Guidebook provides examples of workforce practice in Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) and in related organizations. The materials are provided as resources and tools for VR Human Resources (HR).

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The audience for this Guidebook includes VR personnel on various levels of the agency, including VR counselors, field staff, administrators, and leadership, as well as others in the VR field who partner with VR agencies.

State Comparisons of Average Spending on Rehabilitation Technology Services

State Comparisons of Average Spending on Rehabilitation Technology Services

Description: This figure presents the average dollar amount the state VR systems spent on rehabilitation technology services from the years 2008-2013. The interactive state comparison shows the dollar values general, combined, and blind agencies spent on these services and allows comparisons of one state VR system to another.   

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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Employment for Individuals on a Waiting List: A Case Study on Using State Legislature's Funds

Publication Year: 2013

This case study focuses on the efforts made by the Utah state Office of Rehabilitation to use funds available from the state legislature. Utah's office of rehabilitation used state legislature to fund long-term supported employment for individuals on a waiting list.

In 2006, Utah’s developmental disability agency, the Division of Services for People with Disabilities (DSPD), was faced with a waiting list that reached 2,012 people due to budget limitations. The Utah State Office of Rehabilitation (USOR), DSPD, and the Utah state legislature created House Bill 31 to fund a pilot project that provided long-term supported employment (SE) for 100 individuals with disabilities in fiscal years (FY) 2007 and 2008. In 2008, House Bill 45 was passed to continue funding long-term SE through a special pool of state dollars that would serve individuals on the DSPD waiting list.

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Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies Helping People With Psychiatric Disabilities Get Employed: How Far Have We Come? How Far Do We Have to Go?

Publication Year: 2013

Case Studies of Promising Practices in Vocational Rehabilitation

The Vocational Rehabilitation Research and Training Center ( based at the Institute for Community Inclusion (ICI) at the University of Massachusetts Boston partnered with national content experts to identify promising VR employment practices serving people with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities (IDD). The National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR), the funding agency, requested an emphasis on identifying promising practices for people with mental illnesses and people with intellectual disabilities/developmental disabilities, and to identify promising practices related to order of selection and the designation of most significant disability. This report provides a summary of four promising VR employment practices for persons with IDD. The study included a nationwide call for nominations through extensive outreach using a variety of channels and venues, including (but not limited to) direct contact with VR agencies, Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Centers, the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR), the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), and NIDRR. The VR RRTC formed a Delphi expert panel to review and rate all nominated practices using a systematic, multi-step procedure to evaluate nominations.

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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. 

Focused Investment of Financial Resources and Management Approaches: Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services Case Study

The Maryland Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) has been operating under an Order of Selection (OOS) policy since the late 1980s. The DORS has faced multiple issues related to federal distributions of vocational rehabilitation (VR) funds, state financial support, and increasing cost of services and demands for services. To address these problems, the agency has focused on serving individuals with the most significant disabilities (MSD) and significant disabilities (SD).

Using Projections to Maximize Fiscal Resources: West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services Case Study

The West Virginia Division of Rehabilitation Services (WVDRS) went into Order of Selection (OOS) in 1985, establishing four categories to prioritize rehabilitation services to individuals with more significant disabilities. Up until 2006, the agency had been able to serve customers in the first three OOS categories. In 2006, due to overextended financial resources, a waitlist was implemented, and for one year, no new customers were served.