- Program-Specific Requirements for Vocational Rehabilitation (Combined or General)
The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services Portion of the Unified or Combined State Plan  must include the following descriptions and estimates, as required by section 101(a) of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended by title IV of WIOA:
 Sec. 102(b)(2)(D)(iii) of WIOA
- g. Coordination with Employers
Describe how the designated State unit will work with employers to identify competitive integrated employment and career exploration opportunities in order to facilitate the provision of:
- g. Coordination with Employers
g. 1. VR Services; and
IDVR continues to provide coordination of employer related outreach efforts within the Division and coordinated services under the aegis of WIOA through partnerships with Titles I-IV and other combined state plan partners. IDVR continues to evolve services provided to business and has plans for the continued growth and expansion of the business relations team, additional training for IDVR staff, increase the array of services provided to business, as well as improving the coordination services to business with WIOA plan partners.
IDVR continues to engage in coordinated business services internally through the Business Engagement Leadership Team (BELT). This team continues to be comprised of at least one IDVR staff representative from each region with the activities of the team directed by the Business Relations Manager. Regional Manager representation is present within the team with two of eight Regional Managers participating in a supportive role.
IDVR completed strategic planning sessions in the fall of 2020 to identify the next steps needed to further develop and increase agency performance in serving business customers. The following groups were represented in this process:
- IDVR including Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors, Regional Managers, Vocational Rehabilitation Assistants and Central Office personnel.
- Idaho Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired personnel,
- State Rehabilitation Council members,
- Representative from the Workforce Development Council
The strategic planning sessions occurred across four different sessions where the agency’s business engagement activities were discussed, evaluated, and identified needs were prioritized. Following the strategic planning sessions, the information gathered was compiled and summarized into a working plan.
The goals of the developed working plan identified various areas of focus over the next five years to include but are not limited to:
- Implementation of minimum performance expectations for each IDVR job category identified,
- Increase staff competency when connecting with business and providing services,
- Develop a communication plan for business engagement,
- Establish the Division as a valuable resource to business
- Develop a strategy for completing business engagement activities with outside agencies and partners, and
- Increase overall agency business engagement performance.
Significant Division progress towards these goals has been made since the development of the working plan.
IDVR has revised the identified job descriptions to include business engagement into the job classification descriptions. Additionally, Regional Business Engagement plans were developed and implemented with an outline of goals for business engagement which focus on the utilization of a team approach within each region that allows staff to participate in business engagement activities in various ways leveraging their individual strengths.
Division staff competency has been increased through addressing training needs at the regional level as identified in each Regional Business Engagement plan, as well as training delivered by the Business Relations Manager. Training needs for the BELT have been identified at a regional level by the Business Relations Manager based upon review of regional performance and self-reported staff needs. Additionally, a formal training outline has been developed for new staff.
A Division communication plan is being developed to promote better quality and utilization of business engagement information. In line with the plan, an internal Employer Information page was created to house business information and promote data accessibility for Division staff. Additionally, periodic updates from the Business Relations Manager are provided to individual regions. Furthermore, the Business Relations Manager has completed visits to each region to learn more about localized needs.
The Division continues to strive to become a dependable and useful resource for business. The Division hosts ‘Jobs in Idaho’ page as an employer recruitment resource. Additionally, the Business Relations Manager conducts a business needs assessment to better tailor planning to achieve the Division’s business goals. To this end, the Division has implemented Business Spotlight Sessions which allow businesses a platform to share information about their business and their needs in a group setting. Business Spotlight attendees include IDVR, ICBVI, DOL, Department of Veterans Affairs, Oregon Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Oregon Commission for the Blind, Washington Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, and Utah Division of Vocational Rehabilitation staff.
IDVR is striving to increase customer outcomes through a business apprenticeship strategy. IDVR will be hiring a dedicated Apprenticeship Coordinator to further develop this service to business as a collaborative pilot in conjunction with the Idaho Department of Labor Apprenticeship team, and the Idaho Department of Correction to ensure these services meet the needs of business, while expanding the quality and scope of career opportunities available to IDVR customers. IDVR has initiated discussions on the apprenticeship development program with businesses and is working to connect interested businesses with an apprenticeship support team.
The Division has developed strategies to increase the unified approach for completing business engagement activities with outside agencies and partners including but not limited to:
- Significant engagement with the One-Stop teams across Idaho with WIOA partners
- All IDVR staff completed IDOL’s Technical Assistance Training for Unified Business Services with other Idaho WIOA business leads.
- Interfacing with other states to gain best-practice guidance on Business Engagement approaches. Partners include Washington VR, Utah VR, Oregon VR, and Oregon Blind all participating to promote better services to businesses operating with a multistate footprint.
Due in part to the efforts describe above, Idaho has realized an increase in the variety and quantity of services provided to businesses. Division staff are providing more support to businesses across Workforce Recruitment Assistance, Training Services, and Accessing Untapped Labor Pools than in prior years.
Reported services to businesses have increased as indicated by the following year-over-year trends. Additionally, significant effort to improve the volume of actual services offered to business are realizing substantial gains.
Actual Services to Businesses PY 2018-current
- PY 2018 21.2% or 108 services
- PY 2019 18.7% or 154 services
- PY 2020 28.2% or 233 services
- PY 2021 *38.5% or 542 services
*(incomplete PY as of 5/31/2022, percentages listed are of total contacts to business)
Additionally, quality relationships with business and number of services provided to business customers are expected to continue to grow with the outlined goals related to quantity and quality of engagements with business in each Regional Business Engagement plan and through continued implementation of the Division’s Business Engagement Strategic Plan.
IDVR is in the process of developing additional opportunities for our customers through our increased business engagement efforts. IDVR is working with Create Common Good to develop an agreement for a paid work-based learning experience to be available to IDVR customers year-round that would allow IDVR customers to gain valuable skills to then gain employment with local employers. Additionally, IDVR is in preliminary discussions with WinCo to develop a work-based learning experience for one of their warehouse positions that would allow individuals to gain work skills and be competitive applicants for their openings or in related positions with other local employers.
IDVR is currently evaluating the potential expansion of the Business Relations team to improve the quality of services provided to business, with expanded capacity to provide additional services. This evaluation is for the purpose of determining the capacity required to allow the Division to meet the vision of the program and to align with the goals under WIOA to increase employer services and partnership with WIOA partners at the local level to allow for increased and effective collaboration.