New Services to Meet WIOA Requirements for Vocational Rehabilitation

New Transition Service

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS): Pre-ETS include existing and new services to address the career development needs of students with disabilities. Students with disabilities are defined as individuals with disabilities in secondary, postsecondary, or other recognized education programs who are age 16-21. This service will assist students through the provision of pre-employment services with the objective of preparing students for successful long-term employment consistent with their strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests and informed choice. Community providers are encouraged to develop and provide a full array of Pre-ETS to assist young adults with their transition to the world of work.

Pre-ETS will replace Youth Employment Services (YES). YES provided the foundation for developing Pre-ETS, which reflect the final WIOA regulations for the Rehabilitation Act. Under WIOA, ACCES-VR is required to provide students with disabilities with Pre-ETS. Pre-ETS include job and career exploration counseling and activities, work-based learning experiences, counseling on postsecondary options, and instruction in self-advocacy, which may include peer mentoring. Pre-ETS is not intended to shift the responsibility of service delivery from school districts to vocational rehabilitation. School districts will continue to be responsible for providing transition planning and educational services. Pre-ETS service provision should accommodate an academic calendar as necessary. For students enrolled in secondary school, Pre-ETS are recommended to begin to be offered at age 16.

Pre-ETS should focus on the unique concerns and issues of students with disabilities as related to preparing for employment, evaluating post-secondary education options, and developing employment related soft skills and obtaining work experience. Pre-ETS may combine individual services in a meaningful way to enhance job readiness.

  • Post-Secondary Counseling for Students - To provide students with counseling related to education options after high school;
  • Job Exploration Counseling for Students - To provide students with counseling related to careers options after high school;
  • Self-Advocacy for Students – To develop self-advocacy skills; 
  • Work Readiness for Students – To enhance career exploration and develop soft skills;
  • Work-Based Learning Development for Students – To develop an internship, work try-out or work-based learning experience. Work-Based Learning Development may be used as a stand-alone service;
  • Work-Based Learning Experience for Students – To assist with paid work experience in instances where the employer is unable to place the student on his/her payroll; and
  • Work-Based Coaching Supports for Students (for employment) – To provide coaching for supports youth engaged in paid work experiences.

New Assessment Services

Career Exploration Assessment: The Career Exploration Assessment is a comprehensive vocational evaluation that looks at the person’s education, past work experience, skills, interest and aptitude areas. Referral information, information obtained during the interviews, career interest tools, and structured career exploration activities are used during the assessment period. This assessment will also allow a vocational evaluator to better understand the individual’s unique employment factors - strengths, needs and interests - as well as any impediments to employment and how those factors might impact future employment. The specific abilities of the individual are identified as the basis for recommending flexible strategies for job development, placement and retention. This service can also be used to guide an individual through a goal validation process that would include a review of interests, labor market analysis, job requirements and local/regional employment demand/employers.

After the assessment period is completed, a team conference will be scheduled with the individual and ACCES-VR Counselor; the Customized Career Exploration Assessment will be presented and the recommendations discussed. Recommendations may include: referral to a Community Based Work Assessment for additional career exploration in integrated work settings; Work Experience Development for a work try out or paid community work experience; Work Readiness; Direct Placement; Supported Employment; or other education, including post-secondary options, or vocational training options in the community.

Post-Secondary Counseling for Students: This service is identical to Career Exploration Assessment, only with an emphasis on exploring post-secondary options for students age 16-21.

Job Exploration Counseling for Students: This service is identical to Career Exploration Assessment, only with an emphasis on exploring career options for students age 16-21.

New Employment Preparation Services

Self-Advocacy for Employment

Definition: Self-advocacy is the ability to express thoughts, feelings, and beliefs; know and understand rights and responsibilities; take responsibility for decisions and choices and exercise efforts to improve life situations. Self-advocacy for Employment skills emphasize career and employment exploration; understanding a range of employment opportunities to choose from; recognize personal strengths, talents, compensatory skills and disability-specific accommodation needs; disclosure of disability; learning employment rights under Title I of the ADA and learning when and how to request reasonable accommodation. The desired outcome of this service is that the individual will attain a set of core skills needed to identify personal needs and wants as they relate to career and employment exploration. At the conclusion of this service, participants will actively demonstrate a set of competencies and acquired skills that will enable them to navigate through their challenges related to employment. These personal criteria will then empower an individual to develop an individualized plan of strategies in preparation to engage and fully participate in the career development and employment process.

Self-Advocacy for Students: This service is to be used to adapt self-advocacy training or experiences for employment for students age 16 to 21. Self-advocacy facilitators or mentors will be competent role models trained to use strength-based person-centered planning and people first language about disability. Peer facilitators or mentors will have suitable educational qualifications and experience in providing strength-based approaches to facilitating and mentoring youth in developing their capacity for self-determination; and demonstrated competency in delivering self-advocacy training to youth with disabilities.

Work Readiness

Definition: Participants are assisted in development of job-related skills. Work Readiness Services include components that enable a participant to successfully develop the following individual capacities for achieving and maintaining employment: work behaviors, social skills in the work setting, effective communication, accepting supervision, problem solving, grooming and hygiene, goal setting and work tolerance.

Work Readiness 1 – Soft Skills Training: ACCES-VR will be able to obtain these services prior to IPE development when appropriate to the needs of the individual. This service is a defined set of activities that lead to the acquisition of specific “soft” skills by the individual. They are primarily focused on tasks such as learning acceptable work and social conduct in the workplace, the culture of the workplace, preparing a resume, motivation for work and maintaining a job, and other skills such as, but not limited to, work-related daily living skills, disability awareness, transportation and home health management that are applicable across a variety of employment settings.

Work Readiness for Students – Soft Skills Training: This service is adapted to provide work readiness to students age 16-21.

New Job Placement Services

Definition: Participants are served by providers with employment-related services necessary to obtain, retain, or advance in competitive employment. It is ACCES-VR’s expectation that the employment be secured in a competitive integrated setting and consistent with the individual’s employment goal.

Work Experience Development: This service is designed to aid in securing an employer-based (unpaid or paid) work experience opportunity for VR participants. Outreach to businesses for job development leads to setting up a developmental work experience, monitoring the participant’s progress and making the arrangements for documentation of skill acquisition and performance with the employer. This service is designed to provide ACCES-VR participants with real work experiences and opportunities to network in actual business environments consistent with their vocational goals. It can be provided as a stand alone service or may be combined with other services, such as a work try out.

Work-based Learning Development for Students: This service is to be used when developing a work experience for students age 16-21.

Community Work Experience: This placement service is available for all eligible VR participants including youth. It is designed to provide paid work experiences. This service is a paid internship and reimburses a sponsoring vendor at minimum wage, (and not the prevailing wage if different), plus an administrative cost for payroll issues for up to 320 hours for a paid developmental work experience. This is a wage reimbursement mechanism for a community rehabilitation provider to work with an employer who is unable to put the ACCES-VR participant on their payroll during a brief developmental work experience. Work Experience Development may be provided in conjunction with this service to identify an appropriate work site for an individual, if necessary.

Work-based Learning Experience for Students: This service is adapted to provide a paid developmental work experience for students age 16-21.

Coaching Supports (for employment): This service includes interventions that provide the individual assistance and support on or off-the-job in activities on a short-term or long-term basis, that are employment-related and needed to promote job development, work adjustment and job retention. Services duration depends upon the individual’s needs for supports while learning and performing work-related responsibilities. Activities may include, but are not limited to, job orientation, job destination/transportation training, resume writing, interviewing skills, job clubs, teaching basic job tasks, supervision at the worksite, supervisor consultation, assistance in integrating into the work environment or adjusting to changes in the work environment, assistance with public support agencies, the provision of supports due to changes in job duties, family and residential provider consultation and ongoing contact with the participant and/or employer to ensure continued job satisfaction and coaching supports for youth engaged in paid work experiences.

Work-based Coaching Supports for Students: This service is adapted to provide coaching supports for students age 16-21 during a work-based learning work experience.

Employment Customization: Job customization requires face-to-face meetings with the participant and the employer to make a job match that is significantly more complex and difficult than average. It requires a blend of flexible strategies that result in the provision of individually negotiated and designed services, supports and job opportunities that lead to an employment outcome. The negotiating can be done during the job development phase of supported employment. This includes customizing a job description based on the current employer needs and developing a set of job duties, work schedule, and specifics of supervision that will match to a specific individual. A key factor in deciding if a service is a customized employment service is the presence of employer negotiation, including:

  • customizing a job description based on current unidentified and unmet needs of the employer and the needs of the employee;
  • developing a set of job duties or tasks; developing a work schedule (including determining hours worked); determining a job location;
  • developing a job arrangement (such as job carving, job sharing, or a split schedule); and/or
  • determining specifics of supervision

Employment Customization does not apply to enclaves (dispersed or group), mobile work crews or any other job placements that are based on preferred source or other product or service contracts with a business or public entity, directly or indirectly, regardless of the source of wages for the individual or the nature of the work setting.

New Supported Employment Services

Definition: Supported Employment is paid competitive employment in an integrated setting with ongoing support for individuals with the most significant disabilities for whom competitive employment has not traditionally occurred, and who, because of the nature and severity of their disability, need on-going support services in order to obtain, perform, and retain their job. Supported Employment provides assistance such as job coaching and job placement, assistance in interacting with employers, on-site assistive technology training, specialized job training, and individually tailored supervision.

Extended Supported Employment: These are ongoing support services and related approaches needed to maintain an individual with a most significant disability in supported employment. Extended services assist an individual in maintaining supported employment once the intensive training has satisfactorily lead to stabilization of the individual on the job.

Extended Supported Employment for Youth: ACCES-VR intends to offer Extended Supported Employment for Youth using WIOA VR funds for up to 48 months for individuals or up until age 25.

New Adjunct Service

Definition: Adjunct services are those services and supports which individual requires to achieve employment. They are provided in support of other ACCES-VR activities required to achieve the employment outcome.

Coaching and Communication Supports for Post-Secondary Education and Employment: This service includes weekly and as needed individualized supports in the form of a Post-Secondary Education or Employment Support Coach for participants whose functional impact of disability requires assistance with communication and executive functions (e.g. autism spectrum) and who are enrolled in postsecondary education, training programs, or who are in competitive employment. These supports can include but are not limited to the following:

  • Providing pre-semester campus orientations and personalized tour of the campus.
  • Assistance with admission applications, financial aid applications, and employment related paperwork.
  • Assistance with registration process.
  • Support and coaching to address adequate coping strategies/problem solving skills, stress management, social skill development, and advocacy/support with professors, other school personnel/offices, and employers.
  • Negotiating the residential setting (if applicable – to college housing).
  • Monitoring academic and employment progress and utilization of academic/employment resources.
  • Identification of on-campus or job site information: rights and resources.
  • Ongoing communication with ACCES-VR counselor regarding participant’s progress in a post-secondary education program or job.

For example, this service could be used to:

  • Assist students for whom post-secondary education has been interrupted, intermittent or previously non-existent as a result of limitations imposed by their disability.