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Articles

Partnerships

 
Employer Engagement in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions [PDF]
Each regional collaborative in the National Fund for Workforce Solutions invests in local workforce partnerships that organize key stakeholders, mobilize service providers, and secure local resources to help workers to gain the skills they need and employers to access the skilled labor they need. Critical to their success is engaging employers as active partners. This report, based on interviews with the coordinators of workforce partnerships, details how they identify and meet employer needs and what challenges they face in doing so.
Recruitment and Retention of Older Workers: Application to People with Disabilities
Summaries interviews of employers in a number of states on strategies they use to hire older workers
Increasing Placement Through Professional Networking
Discusses benefits of professional networking groups

Structure

32nd IRI: The VR-Business Network: Charting Your Course [PDF]
This document was developed in collaboration with CSAVR's NET and input from business partners. It provides maturity scales for an agency to chart their progress toward a business engagement model.
Creating Mentoring Opportunities for Youth with Disabilities: Issues and Suggested Strategies
For young people with disabilities, mentoring can impact many of the goals that are part of the transition process: succeeding academically, understanding the adult world, developing career awareness, accepting support while taking responsibility, communicating effectively, overcoming barriers, and developing social skills (Rhodes et al., 2000). When mentors are successfully employed, mentoring can provide connections for youth within the world of work, opening possibilities for employment. Thus, mentoring can be a dynamic catalyst for the achievement of transition goals.
2011 Report of the AccessSTEM/AccessComputing/DO-IT Longitudinal Transition Study (ALTS)
The ALTS tracks the progress toward degrees and careers of students with disabilities who had a goal of postsecondary education while in high school and received DO-IT sponsored interventions (e.g., internships, mentoring, college transition activities) in high school and/or in college.
 
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Briefs

Partnerships

ODEP Employer Engagement Strategy: Workforce Inclusion white paper [PDF]
White paper by ODEP on strategies for employer engagement
NCWD Facilitating Employer Engagement among WIB Partners
Discusses how to engage employers with partners
Building Lasting Connections to Employers [PDF]
Talks about community-wide intermediaries

Structure

Developing a Business Relations Structure: Lessons Learned from VR Trailblazers [PDF]
The Job Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (JD-VRTAC) hosted a targeted technical assistance forum on VR business relations structures. At this forum, representatives from six State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (the “trailblazers”) presented on panels and facilitated round-table discussions about their agencies’ experiences engaging business as a customer. State VR Agencies (SVRAs) described their business relations structures and functions, how they determined a business relations approach, and the challenges they faced throughout this process. This brief features highlights from this forum. 
Employer Engagement Strategy: Workforce Inclusion. White paper prepared by Social Dynamics, LLC as part of the ODEP Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities research [PDF]
Copied from intro: The purpose of this white paper is to describe the evolution of ideas that occurred during the execution of the ODEP Business Case for Hiring People with Disabilities research. Originally designed to update previous ODEP business cases by providing quantitative data supporting the value added by hiring people with disabilities, this focus was ultimately shifted in light of the limited research data available to support a quantitative argument.
Quality Work-Based Learning and Postschool Employment Success
Explains the benefits of work-based learning for students with disabilities and related employment success.

HR Development

Behavioral Interviewing: Sample Questions [PDF]

This resource lists sample beavioral interview questions and personal characteristics ideal for professionals who deliver vocational rehabilitation (VR) or employment provider services.  

Strategies for Youth Workforce Programs to become Employer-Friendly

Reviews basic employer friendly strategies to help build connections with employers

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Curricula & Learning Guides

Partnerships

RSA Report : Overview and Discussion of Federal Regulations on Services to Business [PDF]
 

This document authored by the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, Rehabilitation Services Administration, gives an overview of federal regulations on services to business. 

Local Regional Partnership Self-Assessment Tool [PDF]

August 2006

CLASP seeks to improve the lives of low-income people and engages policy makers in a variety of strategies to achieve this. Engagement of business and public agency partners is one strategy. This document examines roles and actions of state and regional partners in career pathways. The self-assessment process can support the unified planning process across workforce, adult education, and vocational rehabilitation programs required by WIOA.

FACT SHEET: New Regulations on Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 [PDF]

On September 24, 2013, the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) published a Final Rule that makes changes to the regulations implementing Section 503 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended (Section 503), at 41 CFR Part 60-741. The new regulations became effective on March 24, 2014. 

Searchable Online Accommodation Network

JAN's Searchable Online Accommodation Resource (SOAR) system is designed to let users explore various accommodation options for people with disabilities in work and educational settings.

A Resource Guide to Engaging Employers [PDF]

This resource guide presents working models of successful employer engagement and lessons for securing and sustaining partnerships with employers. It was written to help education and training providers fully realize the value of strategic, long-term, and intensive partnerships with employers. The resource leads readers through a continuum of activities supporting these partnerships, with each level involving deeper engagement and integration of employers into the work: Advising Capacity-building Co-designing Convening Leading The continuum is flexible and adaptable, and suggests how productive relationships with employers might evolve, with activities at one level helping build trust, momentum, and leverage for more intensive activities.

Making Sense (Cents): Having a Disability-Friendly Business [PPTX]

This presentation, developed by Russell Thelin, walks businesses through 25 ways to have a disability-friendly business.

Engaging business to Hire Minors [PPT]

View this presentation by Pennsylvania OVR about the unique circumstances associated with hiring minors and engaging businesses to offer job opportunities to minors. 

Structure

Strategic Employer Engagement: Building Dynamic Relationships with Employers in Teen and Young Adult Employment Programs [PDF]

This guide is focused on providing young adult-focused workforce development professionals with resources to aid in planning and executing a successful employer engagement activities and related youth employment programming. The goal is to provide tools that can be used in a variety of settings. Tools are arranged in accordance with a five-step process: Assessing your current realities and goals; Preparing young people for the workplace; Finding employers for your program; Building relationships with employers; Managing the ongoing relationships you have built.

http://commcorp.org/resources/documents/Employer

Beyond Traditional Job Development
Book on engaging employers in job creation

HR Development

Work-based Learning Jump Start
Employers who actively develop and engage in work-based learning opportunities for youth with disabilities see real and concrete benefits. These employers create pipelines of qualified and job-ready employees that help shield them in the unpredictable and ever-changing labor market. They realize a reduction in the time and cost of recruitment, screening, selecting, and training new workers. Important opportunities are created for current employees to hone training and mentoring skills and gain practical understanding of reasonable accommodations in the workplace.
Beyond Traditional Job Development
This is a book on engaging employers in job creation

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Webinars

Partnerships

How Does the Dual Customer Approach Support VR Employment Outcomes?
This webinar provides Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies with an overview of the National Employment Team (NET) and the Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP). Kathleen West-Evans, Director of Business Relations at the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation, will discuss how the NET and TAP are building relationships with businesses that contribute to career planning and VR employment outcomes.
Skills for Business Engagement: Part 1
This ExploreVR webinar provides an overview of business engagement competencies outlined in the ExploreVR Business Engagement Toolkit. Presenters discuss three key competencies of VR business engagement: labor market needs, communication strategies, and internal management strategies.

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Websites

Partnerships

Project Search
Website describing the program.
South Shore Employment Collaborative
Website for one of the DDS regional employment collaboratives which has a model of agencies working together to assist employers in meeting their hiring needs

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Videos

HR Development

Denise Bissonnette Youtube videos
Short, informative, inspirational videos addressing issues and strategies on job development. These are all free and I use them in my trainings all the time. People love them!

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Job Descriptions

Business Account Managers [PDF]
This document contains samples of job descriptions for Business Account Managers in VR agencies.
Business Relations Coordinators [PDF]
This document contains samples of job descriptions for Business Relations Coordinators in VR agencies.
Employment Specialists [PDF]
This document contains samples of job descriptions for Employment Specialists in VR agencies.

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Hiring and Managing Employees with Disabilities

Answering Common Employer Questions and Concerns [DOCX]

This document provides information on interpreters and other accommodations, definitions of disability, developing an inclusive company culture, and more. 

Windmills: Hiring and Retaining People with Disabilities: Train the Trainer Program

This program is designed for Human Resource managers and trainers to successfully include persons with disabilities as an excellent labor resource.

Alabama RAVE Program (Retaining A Valued Employee) [PDF]

RAVE, Retaining A Valued Employee, is a unique program of the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services that helps businesses find solutions to issues involving employees injured on or off the job, or employees whose performance is affected by a disabling condition. 

Work Rules Relevant to Youth with Disabilities [DOCX]

When working with employers in your efforts to assist youth with disabilities to take their place in the workforce, all parties must be aware of labor laws that pertain to young people.   This document provides information from the Department of Labor, OSHA, and the EEOC as well as links to state specific regulations. 

EARN website: Supervision & Management Section

The Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) is a resource for employers seeking to recruit, hire, retain, and advance qualified employees with disabilities. It is a service of the Employer T/A Center, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Labor's Office of Disability Employment Policy under a cooperative agreement with The Viscardi Center.

The site has information under the following categories:

  • Diversity Goals
  • Recruitment and Hiring
  • Supervision and Management
  • Inclusive Workplaces
  • Disability Laws

This resource also offers employers toll-free technical assistance, individualized consultation, and customized trainings and webinars.

Disability and HR: Tips for Human Resources Professionals

This website contains a series of 36 searchable articles and four disability nondiscrimination and best-practices checklists designed in response to specific questions raised by HR professionals about managing disability issues in the workplace.

The articles are categorized into the following areas (and are available in Spanish and English):

  • Disability Nondiscrimination Regulations
  • Management and HR Practice
  • Employment Process
  • Accommodations of Specific Disabilities

This site is designed as a part of research conducted by Cornell University on disability employment nondiscrimination policy and practices funded by the U.S. Department of Education National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (Grant #H133A70005).

Supervising People with Disabilities -  Hint, It Really Isn't Very Different Than Anyone Else
This article educates employers about employment for workers with disabilities. It contains practical and concise tips and guidelines regarding strategies for supervision, welcoming techniques when starting a job, ongoing supervisory techniques, traits of supervisors successful at working with employees with disabilities, and management tips in supporting the supervisor. From JTPR (Job Training and Placement Report) Workplace Connection, March 2011, by Impact Publications, Inc., © 2011.
Workplace Culture Survey
This is a comprehensive tool for use in closely analyzing a workplace for natural supports and workplace inclusion potential. Instructions on how to administer this tool are included. It can be used by VR / CRP staff to facilitate natural supports and maximize inclusion in the workplace.
Employer Resource Guide [PDF]
This online resource guide (updated in 2012) provides public and private employers, human resource personnel, hiring managers, and supervisors with federal, state, and local-level information around their legal obligations. It also offers resources that can assist in identifying, paying for, and implementing effective accommodation strategies for hiring and/or retaining qualified employees who experience a disability. This project has been funded, either wholly or in part, with federal funds from the Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
Tips for Employers: Making Web-Based Job Application Forms Accessible [DOCX]

This document provides information about best practices for online recruitment and considerations for accessible online application forms. 

DeafTEC
This website provides employers with resources that can be used to attract, interview, and hire deaf and hard-of-hearing employees, and successfully integrate them into the workplace.
Introduction to Inclusive Talent Acquisition
This free online course distills valuable lessons on creating inclusive workplaces from leaders in inclusion, human resources professionals, and people with disabilities into four quick and engaging sessions.
Assistive Technology for People with Mental Health Disabilities [DOCX]
Assistive technology has many applications for assisting people with mental health disabilities on the job. Technologies and applications can provide support for cognitive functioning, calming and reducing arousal, self-management, and passive symptom tracking. This brief provides descriptions, applications, and examples of these resources.
 
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Supporting Employees with Disabilities

Job Coaching in the Workplace
This publication is part of the Job Accommodation Network’s Accommodation and Compliance Series. It provides a comprehensive description of what job coaches are, what they do, where to find them, and who provides funding. Also included is how job coaching applies to the Americans with Disabilities Act, along with specific examples of job coaching used as an accommodation.
Support through Mentorship: Accessible Supervision of Employees with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

The authors of this brief offer employers’ direct and concrete guidance and tips about lessons learned in supervising individuals with disabilities.

Ashley Wolfe works at the Institute for Community Inclusion / UMass Boston and is one of the authors of the above brief. Watch this video to hear her and her supervisors talk about her experience and support on the job.

America's Heroes At Work: Veterans Hiring Toolkit
This online step-by-step toolkit from the U.S. Department of Labor assists and educates employers who have decided to include transitioning service members, veterans, and wounded warriors in their recruitment and hiring initiatives. The toolkit simplifies the process and puts valuable resources at an employer’s fingertips. It pinpoints helpful tools and outlines important steps to take when designing a veterans hiring initiative that works for an employer’s particular business. This guide can be useful whether looking to create a plan from scratch or to retool existing efforts.
VARK: A Guide to Learning Styles
VARK is a questionnaire that helps to determine how someone (e.g., VR client or new employee) learns best, and suggests strategies that he or she can be using. The site describes the four modalities (Visual, Aural, Read/Write, and Kinesthetic), and offers specific learning recommendations for each one, including those people who prefer a mixture (multimodal). The site also contains research, articles, and additional resources, including a section about how to use the VARK method in the workplace.
Coffee Breaks and Birthday Cakes
This book by David Hagner can be ordered from TRN at the link above. It discusses how workplace culture directly determines the success of workers with disabilities and the VR counselors, job coaches, and job developers who support them. It also offers many concrete strategies to maximize social inclusion in the workplace.
 
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Reasonable Accommodations

Reasonable Accommodations Process Guide for VR Counselors [PDF]

A vocational rehabilitation counselor can play an essential role in facilitating the interaction between an applicant/employee and an employer. This Guide provides a worksheet to use during the interactive process of reasonable accommodation consideration. 

Employers' Practical Guide to Reasonable Accommodation Under the Americans with Disabilities Act [PDF]
This guide, produced by the Job Accommodation Network (JAN), is a summary of some of the most frequent issues that employers have regarding accommodations and ADA compliance and JAN's practical ideas for resolving them. As new information is available or new issues develop, the guide will be updated to reflect the changes. This online resource is also available in Spanish and in an audio version.
Service Animals As An Employment Accommodation [PDF]
This Q&A by the Northwest ADA Center addresses common regulations and guidelines  regarding use of service animals in the business environment.
Workplace Accommodations: Low Cost, High Impact
Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) Accommodation and Compliance Series helps employers determine effective accommodations and comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This edition outlines a study conducted by JAN showing that workplace accommodations not only are low-cost, but also positively impact the workplace in many ways. The study results consistently showed that the benefits employers receive from making workplace accommodations far outweigh the costs. Just updated in 2015!
Small Employers and Reasonable Accommodations
This guide is adapted from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's Enforcement Guidance on Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the ADA, and answers some of the key questions facing small businesses in connection with reasonable accommodations. It explains the obligations of both employers and individuals with disabilities, and reviews the limits on how far employers must go in providing reasonable accommodations.
Providing Reasonable Accommodation to Employees with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Job Accommodation Network’s (JAN) Accommodation and Compliance Series helps employers determine effective accommodations and comply with Title I of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). This edition in the series addresses PTSD and provides information about the condition, ADA information, accommodation ideas, and resources for additional information. This publication is also available in Spanish on the JAN website.
Job Accommodations for Persons with Mental Health Conditions

This is a recording of a 2013 webinar presented by the Boston University (BU) Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation in conjunction with the Job Accommodation Network (JAN). The presentation reviews the main categories of accommodations that have been typically used by people with mental health conditions to improve employment results.

The webinar combines the results of a summary of quantitative and qualitative research studies and several decades of technical assistance by the two national centers (BU and JAN).  Presenters discuss promising practices revealed in the studies and emerging trends of interest to employers. The webpage also provides webinar handouts and related resources.

AbleData
AbleData is a source for impartial, comprehensive information on products, solutions, and resources to improve productivity and ease with life’s tasks. This website provides a wealth of information to assist customers and their family members, vendors, distributors, organizations, professionals, and caregivers in understanding assistive technology options and programs. Included on this site is a searchable database by product or category.
Partnership on Employment & Accessible Technology (PEAT)
PEAT, funded by U.S. Dept. of Labor, Office of Disability Policy, brings together employers, technology providers, thought leaders, and technology users around the intersecting topics of accessible technology and employment. This site includes a section titled “Accessible Technology Action Steps: A Guide for Employers.”
 
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Labor Market and ADA Compliance

America's Career InfoNet
Website with information related to Labor Market Information (LMI) State and National, Employment Trends, Career One-stops, Employers, and Career Tools for Job-seekers.
The impact of business size on employer ADA response. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 49(4), 194-206

This journal article describes a Cornell University survey of human resource professionals that examined how employers of different sizes are complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Small businesses, with fewer than 500 employees, continue to be the most rapidly growing part of the national economy and therefore a potential source of employment for job seekers with disabilities. The authors point to needed ADA and accommodation services that rehabilitation counselors can provide to employers.

Results suggest that businesses of varying sizes have different experiences with ADA implementation. These differences suggest that rehabilitation professionals should consider alternate approaches dependent upon business size for gaining entry and delivering their services. The article details these variations.

ADA Training for VR Agency Staff [DOCX]

One of the services many VR agencies are offering to their local business community is training on Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) – the employment title.  This document links to many ways for VR staff to get up to speed on ADA requirements that are most relevant to the employment process.

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Employer Support Webinars

View ExploreVR webinars on Reasonable Accommodations: 

View ExploreVR webinars on how to use Assistive Technology to support adults with disabilities:

Culture of Inclusion Roadmap [PDF]
Developed by the Southwest ADA Center, StarReach Enterprises, JAN, and the New Mexico Business Leadership Network, this publication helps businesses plan and implement an inclusive environment for both employees and customers with disabilities. The plan includes 20 comprehensive road map inclusion goals (e.g., “Dispel disability-related myths and barriers. Ensure everyone in the organization has the latest factual information about disability in the workplace”), and identifies challenges that may need to be addressed to achieve these goals. It also provides sample action steps, and suggests helpful partnerships, collaborations, and resources. Due to the comprehensive and intensive level of this tool, it is best used by VR staff, working together with the business.
 
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