VR Counselors

Labor Market Information for Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors

The role of the vocational rehabilitation counselor (VRC) is to assist individuals with disabilities to find and meet their employment goals, overcome barriers to employment, and prepare for integrated entry or re-entry into jobs in a competitive workforce. As resources in this section of the toolkit will demonstrate, Labor Market Information (LMI) can assist VRCs with all of these goals.

The LMI VRC toolkit will provide VRCs with guidance and resources to increase their ability, skill, and understanding of how to effectively use LMI with customers during the career planning stage (including occupational exploration), and in preparing for the job search and job placement.

For VRCs to use LMI effectively, they must meet these learning objectives:

  1. Understanding the purpose and value of using of LMI
  2. Identifying sources of LMI
  3. Identifying trends and models (local, state, regional, and national) for incorporating LMI into their work with clients
  4. Gathering and analyzing LMI (e.g., developing skills, expanding knowledge)
  5. Communicating about LMI to customers and partner agency representatives (for meaningful customer engagement and partnership participation)

What’s the Payoff for VRCs?

Knowledge of LMI, basic understanding of LMI tools, and the ability to communicate LMI meaningfully are critical skills for providing appropriate counseling and guidance during career planning with VR customers. Along with other resources from their career planning toolbox, including comprehensive vocational assessments, clinical counseling, and Individualized Plan for Employment development skills, LMI can enhance VRCs’ and customers’ knowledge of which employers in a region are hiring, what skills are in demand, and which industries are projected to grow.

LMI tools can also support client choices about which education and training providers can help them meet their career and employment goals, thereby providing the highest level of informed choice for individuals with disabilities as they enter or advance in the job market.

Webinar View ExploreVR webinar, Labor Market Information and VR Career Counseling on how understanding LMI may help VR counselors increase successful employment outcomes for people with disabilities.

Webinar View ExploreVR webinar, Labor Market Information (LMI): An Embarrassment of Riches or Fools Gold? to learn more about how to identify relevant labor market information. 

Video Series: Using LMI in the Counseling Process



This video is designed help the vocational rehabilitation counselor to see the value in using Labor Market Information (LMI) when working with consumers who have been out of the labor market for a while or, who have not started their career planning efforts. In this example, the VR agency is structured to utilize referral to the Business Service Specialist to support client’s understanding and use of LMI. Although the specific VR process your state uses may differ, compare this situation to ones that you may have encountered and we are sure you will see similarities.


This case study has three segments: 1) An initial meeting with a consumer who has been out of the labor market and is considering if her skills are still current, 2) How the VR Business Liaison and VRC illustrates the value of LMI to the consumer, 3) Demonstrating that the use of LMI during plan development phase can bring about a strong understanding of the consumer’s options and a more efficient career planning process.

LMI Part 1

O*NET is a well-recognized resource for labor market information. If you are not familiar with the site, you can learn more at http://www.onetcenter.org/overview.

LMI Part 2

In this section, three types of labor market information(LMI) were referenced. These are:

  • Traditional LMI: This is the systematic collection, analysis, and reporting of a broad range of federal, state, and local data that describes current economic conditions. Key information includes current employment levels, projected employment growth, unemployment rates, average wages, work-related education requirements, industry trends, and workforce demographics.
  • Real-time LMI: This data is drawn using a technology that scans the Internet for online job postings for a region. It provides information on employer demand, new and emerging in-demand skills and credentials, job titles, industry trends, and educational requirements.
  • Agency Business Relations LMI: In some respects, this qualitative data is a form of “reconnaissance” that your agency gathers from local employers, chambers of commerce, and industry associations. Information about job opportunities, hiring challenges for various positions, expected changes in their workplace, and positions that requiring specialized skills is a valuable resource not only for mainstream job development but for potential On-the-job-training, internships, and “carved” job positions.

LMI Part 3

As you saw in this example, integrating labor market information into the IPE conversation can help:

  • to avoid misunderstandings in the counseling relationship in terms of career exploration
  • to present options and add perspective to a client’s decision making process
  • and engage the client as an active partner, inspiring confidence that they are moving forward in a positive direction

LMI: The Informed Choice


Tools: Using LMI in the Counseling Process

The Career Index Plus

The Career Index Plus is a comprehensive career information system. Counselors can invite clients to create a profle of their career interests and skills. The Career Index Plus tool can help evaluate occupations and make recommendations about careers. The Career Index Plus was developed by the WINTAC Workforce Innovation pilot project.

North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation developed a guide to help counselors navigate the Career Index Plus. 

The JD-VRTAC and WINTAC created a presentation about features of The Career Index Plus.

O*NET Online

O*NET Online, the Occupational Information Network Online, is an interactive application for exploring and searching occupations. O*NET Online was developed by the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration.

North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation developed a guide to help counselors navigate O*NET (the Occupational Information Network).

The JD-VRTAC created a presentation about O*NET Career Exploration Tools.

Other Career Exploration Tools

North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation developed a lesson plan for counselors to use to assist clients with Career Exploration.

North Dakota Division of Vocational Rehabilitation developed an Occupational Research Summary worksheet to help clients track their job research.