Partnerships for Providing Employer Supports

State vocational rehabilitation agencies (SVRAs) partner with many other types of professionals and agencies in providing support for businesses that hire VR participants and other individuals with disabilities. This section provides resources for VR staff to use in identifying and accessing some of the most common potential partners.

In many cases, community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) provide the majority of necessary employer supports, especially in situations where supported employment is required. This section provides two articles on  assessing the quality of CRP services (CRP quality employment services [PDF] and CRP quality evaluation checklist [PDF]), as well as a summary of different types of contracted relationships between CRPs and SVRAs [PDF].

Other partners that may be called in to provide employer support include the regional ADA centers [PDF], assistive technology projects [PDF], consumer organizations [PDF], travel training providers  (Online Travel Training Resources [PDF], and Travel Training article [PDF]),  and tribal VR programs.

Partnering with Community Rehabilitation Programs (CRPs)

VR agencies conduct business engagement activities in a variety of ways, including having dedicated VR staff in business engagement or job placement roles, and contracting with community rehabilitation providers (CRPs). This report summarizes discussions and presentations from a CRP forum held in December 2016, and reviews some issues and strategies involved in the VR–CRP partnership for business engagement and employer support.

Full Report: Download the Full Report: VR Partnering with CRPs in Business Engagement and Employer Support

Fact Sheet: Download the 2-page Factsheet: Business Engagment Partnerships - VR and CRPs

Evaluating CRP Services

Most VR agencies contract with community rehabilitation programs (CRPs) for a large percentage of employer support services, at least those services associated with a specific VR customer hired by a specific business. Because of this financial investment, and because CRP services are generally provided on behalf of those VR customers that need the most support, it is important to have a thorough and consistent method of evaluating those services and outcomes and sharing that evaluative information with staff and participants alike.

Ideally, the VR agency evaluates CRPs on a variety of measures. At a minimum, there should be a regular review of billing and payment activity--i.e., whether billed-for services are being provided as authorized--to ensure that state regulations are being met.

Many states also conduct periodic reviews of CRP qualifications: staff experience and training, insurance, business license, accreditation, etc. Unfortunately, that's as far as the evaluation goes in many states and agencies--there is no attempt to assess quality of services or customer satisfaction, and information about CRP performance is not shared beyond the other counselors in a local office.

Issues in designing a CRP evaluation system

  • Who will do it? CRP specialist from central office, area managers, supervisors, counselors? VR business manager or contracting staff?
  • How often will it be done?
  • How will the information be shared and with whom?
    • Internally only: shared with counselors and supervisors
    • Internally and with the individual CRP
    • Shared with consumers by counselors as part of informed choice
    • Publically, perhaps through VR agency website
  • What will follow the evaluation process? Awards? Sanctions? Corrective action? Technical assistance for the CRP if the results are not satisfactory? Development/recruitment of new or additional CRP resources in a given community? This is a very crucial piece. If there is only one CRP in town and no way of finding or developing an alternative, chances are consumers will continue to be referred to that CRP regardless of the quality of its services.

Methods for conducting CRP evaluation

  • On-site reviews by CRP specialist
  • Account reviews by fiscal/business management staff
  • Surveys of counselors who have used the CRP
  • Case reviews by supervisors or counselor peers
  • Satisfaction surveys of consumers (mail, online, telephone, in-person)

CRP evaluation areas

  • Quality of jobs (competitive and integrated, comparable wages and benefits, consistent with Individual Plan for Employment and worker's preferences, maximizing hours and earnings, opportunities for advancement, longevity)
  • Match between services authorized and services provided
  • Timeliness of response to referrals
  • Timeliness of services provided
  • Consistent communication with the referring VR counselor and other staff as appropriate
  • Customer satisfaction with services (consumers and employers)
  • Accurate and timely reporting and billing