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j. 1. A. With the most significant disabilities, including their need for supported employment services;

Current Narrative:

The number of people with disabilities in Idaho is growing. The American Community Survey (ACS) one–year estimates of individuals with disabilities in Idaho increased from 204,780 in 2014 to 241,391 in 2019 representing an increase of 3.38 percent year over year, and 17.9 percent over the past five years (ACS Disability Characteristics, 2014, 2019 1–Year Estimates).

According to data from the American Community Survey (2019), 13.7 percent of Idaho civilians living in the community report having a disability (one percent higher than the national average), including 8.9 percent of Idahoans age 18-34, and 13.6 percent of Idahoans age 35-64. A more extensive profile of Idahoans with Disabilities is contained in section II(a)(1)(B) Workforce Analysis portion of the combined section of this plan.

The Division has hired a CRP manager who will have a full commitment to the position following the transfer of his former program to the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare on July 1, 2022.  To date the CRP manager has engaged with VRTAC-QE and is currently creating a project management plan to formalize activities and timelines for the CRP innovation project.

Since the Division concluded our initial CE Pilot, IDVR has continued to participate in the Supported Employment and Customized Employment Communities of Practice hosted through Cornell and the George Washington University/Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE).  Additionally, the Division participates in Region X (Former RSA Region X) Community Rehabilitation Program groups with other CRP program staff in Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

The Division will continue I&E planning activities into PY22 but anticipates initial engagement with CRPs to collect comment and suggestion on I&E prior to formalizing a plan of action for these activities. The Division is also focused on the expansion of rural service delivery options for customers and expanding existing service delivery in urban areas where lacking.  IDVR has proposed a modification of qualifications for potential CRPs including a new option where smaller operations can more easily qualify as an IDVR provider through completion of the 40-hour ACRE training. The Division is anticipating the rule change to be approved but must engage in Idaho’s negotiated rulemaking process prior to finalizing rule and initiating the change. This strategy should help improve provider coverage across the state and lessen time to service for customers in areas lacking sufficient current coverage.

As a result of CE pilot difficulties, the Division plans on a more granular implementation of CE concepts and principles to further CE efforts in a meaningful and achievable strategic approach.  IDVR will focus first on efforts to reinforce and improve core CRP services with innovation and expansion activities (to include job skills, training, job coaching and soft skills).  As the Division reimagines our guidance on assessment services, CBWE and trial work, IDVR will infuse aspects of discovery to better condition service providers for more advanced CE concepts.  Once the Division is satisfied with the quality of service in the initial phase, we will engage in continuous quality improvement and adaptation until the service reaches fidelity to articulated standards.  IDVR will then move to reinforce other aspects central to Customized Employment following stage 1 mastery.

IDVR has a member on the Idaho Behavioral Health Planning Council (IBHPC).  The IBHPC mission is to “promote advocacy, collaboration, education, and policy development to create a seamless behavioral health delivery system.” 

The current IBHPC strategic direction includes:

  1. Provide oversight and coordination of regional behavioral health boards. 
  2. Fulfill reporting requirements.
  3. Support the development of community crisis centers in each region.
  4. Conduct a statewide assessment of prevention programs.
  5. Assist regions in setting up children’s subcommittees.
  6. Educating legislators.
  7. Conducting an environmental scan of the readiness and capacity of the system to ultimately generate strategies to improve continuity of care. 


Additionally, IDVR’s Administrator has tasked all Regional Managers to develop a regional specific outreach plans including this population.  The draft regional outreach plans have been submitted, and since mental health services vary substantially across regions, these plans are tailored to services available in the community.  For example, not all regions have a homeless shelter. The Division anticipates a revision and incorporation of best practices across regional plans to further strengthen this strategy.

100 percent of Idaho is designated as a Health Professional Shortage Area (HPSA), specifically for Mental Health services (Idaho Behavioral Health Council, 2021). Idaho Behavioral Health Workforce Plan 2021 is Governor Little’s initiative to increase providers of behavioral health services in the state of Idaho.  The initiative has engaged VR to help train IDVR customers to be peer support specialists to help fill this gap in service provision.

The Division maintains involvement in mental health courts and drug courts with the frequency of engagement varying across regions (weekly, monthly, quarterly, bi-annually). While mental health outreach remains difficult, the Division has developed rapport with community-based workers to help promote these referrals. Efforts to connect with community based mental health providers continue, and the Division works to offer training on VR services to these vendors.

Additionally, IDVR has engaged with the Idaho Anti-Trafficking Coalition. The Coalition reached out to the Division after analysis showed 83 of 242 individuals, they served in 2021 self-identified as having a disability of some kind. Cognitive, physical or mental disabilities were eventually identified in over 75 percent of victims served. A training was provided to all field staff regarding services and support, and the Division helped clarify what services and opportunities were available at IDVR to promote appropriate referral. IDVR maintains a similar relationship with the Idaho Coalition Against Sexual & Domestic Violence.

IDVR commissioned a Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment (CSNA) beginning late summer of 2019, including an assessment of the rehabilitation needs of youth with disabilities in transition and student need for Pre-Employment Transition Services.  The CSNA was finalized in early 2020 and was retained to inform this two-year update.

The independent CSNA identified the following themes in the area of needs of individuals with the significant disabilities including their need for supported employment:

  • Supported Employment is a necessary service for people with the most significant disabilities and needs, which IDVR has been successfully providing for many years. Changes due to WIOA has created some challenges in implementing new practices, but overall IDVR excels in this area.
  • Participants expressed that there is a need to improve the quality of employment outcomes for individuals with the most significant disabilities.
  • Customized Employment is seen as an important employment strategy for individuals with the most significant disabilities.  Training in CE has been completed in partnership with the WINTAC, but it has not been sustainable to date. Many participants indicated that they are looking forward to the implementation of CE 2.0 after IDVR revamps the training, expectations and fee structure.
  • The rehabilitation needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities that were cited the most frequently (beyond SE and CE) include transportation, job skills, training, job coaching and soft skills.

Individual Survey: Barriers to Obtaining or Keeping a Job

Respondents were presented with a list of 16 barriers to obtaining employment and asked to indicate whether the item had been a barrier that impacted their ability to obtain or keep a job. The table below summarizes the most frequently stated barriers and the impact on obtaining or keeping employment.

Barriers to Obtaining or Keeping JobPercent Reporting Barrier
Employer concerns about my ability to do the job due to my disability55.3%
Lack of education or training53.6%
Mental health concerns46.3%
Lack of job skills44.8%
Lack of job search skills32.3%
Lack of reasonable accommodations at work29.9%
Lack of assistive technology24.2%
Concern over loss of Social Security benefits due to working22.1%
Substance abuse12.2%

Respondents were presented with a list of barriers and asked to identify the three most significant barriers that they have faced specifically toward getting a job. Table VR.3 contains a summary of the top-three ranked barriers identified by participants and the frequency of identification.

Significant Barriers to Getting a JobTimes identified as a "top-three" barrierPercent of Total Number of Respondents Selecting Barrier
Lack of education or training48843.7%
Employer concerns about my ability to do the job due to my disability43739.2%
Lack of job skills35832.1%
Mental Health concerns31928.6%
Lack of available jobs28625.6%
Criminal record20318.2%
Lack of job search skills16314.6%
Lack of reasonable accommodations at work14513.0%
Concern over loss of Social Security benefits due to working13712.3%

A total of 1,116 respondents answered the question. Lack of education or training, employer concerns about my ability to do the job, and lack of job skills were the three top items selected by respondents, matching two of the top three responses in the previous Table X. The last 5 items on this list also resemble the last five items on the list in Table X.

Individual survey respondents were asked a yes-no question asking whether they had suggestions to improve IDVR to help people with disabilities to get a job or move to a better job. There were 285 “yes” responses (23.6%) from the 1,206 respondents.

Respondents were asked a subsequent open-ended question and given the opportunity to provide suggestions on how IDVR can improve in assisting people with disabilities to get a job or move to a better job. Responses to this question that were grouped into the following themes:

  1. Provide services in a timely manner
  2. Improve VR counselors’ communication and customer service
  3. Increase medical aspects of disability training to understand a wide variety of disabilities
  4. Increase awareness of IDVR and services for customers and employers

Individual survey respondents were asked an open-ended question to provide any additional comments that they would like to share regarding IDVR services. There were 393 narrative responses. Two-hundred two comments were appreciative and positive toward IDVR services and counselors. Themes within the remaining narrative responses noted delays in communication, counselor attitudes, wait times for services, and clarification of services available.

There is a strong correlation between those individuals requiring supported employment (SE) services and presumptively eligible participants in the VR program. To approximate the potential need for SE services, the Division will utilize counts of Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries.

Individuals who qualify for SSI/SSDI are by law presumptively eligible for Vocational Rehabilitation services. The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) estimates that as of December 2020 21,177 Idahoans in the 18-64 age category are receiving SSI.

State or areaTotalAgedBlind and disabledUnder 1818–6465 or older

Furthermore, Table 8 in the Annual Statistical Report on the Social Security Disability Insurance Program (2020) lists 46,724 Idahoans age 18-64 as SSDI beneficiaries.

According to internal data, IDVR took applications on 2524 cases in PY 2020 including 867 cases where SSI and/or SSDI benefits were verified. This represents a presumptive eligibility rate of 34.35 percent at application, an increase of 2.6 percent over PY 2019.