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2 Year Modification

Indiana PYs 2018-2019 Published

Located in:

d. 2. I. ii. Plan for Recruitment, Preparation and Retention of Qualified Personnel

Describe the development and implementation of a plan to address the current and projected needs for qualified personnel including, the coordination and facilitation of efforts between the designated State unit and institutions of higher education and professional associations to recruit, prepare, and retain personnel who are qualified, including personnel from minority backgrounds and personnel who are individuals with disabilities.

Current Narrative:

VR acknowledges a long-standing challenge with recruitment and retention of VR Counselors who have met CSPD requirements in the past. In 2014, VR successfully implemented a comprehensive restructuring of the field services staffing model to improve the quality of service provided to our consumers. The addition of a new VR Case Coordinator role helped to ensure that the VR Counselor role is focused primarily on rehabilitation counseling and guidance. This field services restructuring also aimed to enhance recruitment activities to obtain qualified VR field staff. VR will continue working to identify institutions of higher education and professional associations to partner with in the development and implementation of this plan of action.

VR periodically conducts needs assessments with staff to identify training priorities. Staff performance appraisals were substantially revised in 2015 to shift expectations to increase focus on customer service and quality outcomes. The ongoing review of performance goals will also identify additional areas of training need for staff. VR has a designated staff member who coordinates the provision of training for VR staff.

VR in partnership with IIDC continues to evaluate and modify a web-based training program, called the Leadership Academy, for continuous improvements and increased effectiveness. This program will be explained in more detail below.

Initiatives within VR that may improve staff retention include the addition of 7 itinerant VR Counselor positions to assist with covering caseloads in local VR offices experiencing vacancies in VR Counselor positions. Additionally, the ongoing efforts to increase communication and training across VR may assist with retention. This includes ongoing quarterly statewide supervisor meetings, monthly regional management meetings, and monthly field staff training webinars, new supervisor trainings, regional field visits, and other opportunities to bring staff together within the region or state. In September 2016, BRS held a 2-day statewide VR Symposium for all counseling staff, case coordinators, and Central Office staff to come together for the purpose of training and collaboration. Additionally, Field Region Managers are an integral part of monthly Leadership Team meetings and give essential input on policies, training needs, new initiatives and priorities, etc. The VR Commission honored staff by presenting awards to four outstanding VR staff.

VR continues to offer counselors and support staff opportunities to participate in special agency projects outside of their regular work routines, which sends the message that leadership values and desires the input of field staff. In the coming year, VR will work to establish a more targeted focus on reaching out to local universities as a recruitment source for identifying qualified individuals with master’s degrees in rehabilitation counseling or closely related areas.

VR has a long-standing history of hiring qualified candidates from minority backgrounds and individuals with disabilities for all BRS positions, including VR Counselors. The Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA), the agency in which DDRS/BRS sits, has an Affirmative Action plan that includes FSSA’s policy on Affirmative Action, recruitment strategies, identifies responsible parties for implementation and monitoring, and addresses FSSA’s progress toward meeting goals for new hires. Outreach strategies include recruitment activities at events such as Indiana Black Expo as well as events at local universities such as job fairs and advisory board meetings. Furthermore, VR job postings are shared locally with Centers for Independent Living, CRPs and Mental Health Centers for broad distribution. VR Counselors also share openings as appropriate with VR consumers and VR has hired several former consumers into VR positions.