U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Dot gov

Official websites use .gov
A .gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.


Secure .gov websites use HTTPS
A lock () or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Located in:

e. Cooperative Agreements with Private Nonprofit Organizations

Describe the manner in which the designated State agency establishes cooperative agreements with private non-profit VR service providers.

Current Narrative:

The Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) values the partnerships that have been developed with private non-profit organizations in Colorado. DVR has developed partnerships at the state and local levels.

Project SEARCH

Project Search is a business led program and internationally trademarked model that leads to competitive integrated employment for youth with a variety of developmental disabilities. The success of Project SEARCH is dependent upon the active involvement of multiple partners within a community, including business, secondary education, postsecondary education, vocational rehabilitation, community rehabilitation providers, ongoing support agencies, families, and social security. Currently, Colorado has three Project SEARCH and is exploring opportunities to expand. Host business sites include UCHealth in Denver, Children’s Hospital of Colorado in Denver, and Columbine West Health and Rehabilitation Facility in Fort Collins. DVR is actively engaged with each of Colorado’s Project SEARCH sites and has entered into partnerships with the above-identified agencies to support the success of the program. Through braided resources, DVR collaborates with the multiple Project SEARCH partners to assure the seamless and successful delivery of transition services leading to integrated employment at minimum wage or higher. DVR responsibilities within Project SEARCH vary from site to site, and include program development, employer education and technical assistance, participant referral and selection, assessment, job coaching, transportation training, work experience, job seeking skills training and job placement assistance. Typically, local Project SEARCH partners enter into a written working agreement to support the success of the program and the young job seekers involved in the program.

PEAK Parent Center

DVR has a long-standing partnership with PEAK Parent Center. PEAK Parent Center is Colorado’s federally-designated Parent Training and Information Center, working to ensure that all people with disabilities are fully included in their neighborhood schools, communities, employment and all walks of life. PEAK offers an array of free and low-cost services to families of children with disabilities and advocates, including self-advocates, across the state. Additionally, PEAK collaborates with education, early childhood, rehabilitation and medical communities to create systems change and offers fee-for-service opportunities, workshops and customized training for school districts, community groups and agencies. DVR partners with PEAK for a variety of the workshops and training events they plan and provide each year. . A key member of the PEAK leadership staff is an active member of the State Rehabilitation Council and the Employment First Advisory Partnership.

Colorado Community Centered Boards

Colorado has twenty local community centered boards (CCB), which are non-profit organizations responsible for the provision of case management services that assist individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities in accessing necessary services and supports to meet their needs. Collaboration between DVR and the CCBs is especially evident in DVR’s delivery of supported employment services, discussed in depth elsewhere in this State Plan. Additionally, DVR and CCB partners collaborate to cross-train at the local level and develop referral systems and processes to coordinate individualized client plans for habilitation and vocational rehabilitation that complement one another and eliminate duplication of services.

Community Mental Health Centers

Community Mental Health Center services include psychiatric services, individual and group therapy, peer services, support groups, medication management, intensive case management, educational opportunities and employment services including supported employment. Partnership between DVR and local Mental Health Centers is evidenced through the Mental Health Supported Employment Program, which operates under an interagency agreement between DVR and the Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) and contracts with 16 Community Mental Health Centers to provide supported employment services. Services consist of job development, job seeking skills, job coaching, and on–going support. The purpose of this project is to enhance employment opportunities for individuals with severe and persistent mental illness or persons in recovery. The project has resulted in increased integrated employment opportunities for individuals and is discussed in depth elsewhere in this State Plan.

Private Non-Profit Vendors

A variety of private non-profit organizations provide vocational rehabilitation services to DVR clients under a fee-for-service structure, including:

  • The Colorado Center for the Blind (CCB). The CCB is a world-renowned training center located in Littleton, Colorado. The CCB provides innovative teaching techniques and philosophy that has far-reaching effects on the lives of individuals with blindness. Services purchased by DVR include: independence training for adults, year-round and summer employment, education and independent living services for youth; college preparation; and senior services.
  • Goodwill Industries of Denver and Discover Goodwill Southern and Western Colorado. These programs work with both teens and adults to help them get the education and training they need to obtain and sustain meaningful employment and improve their lives. Services purchased by DVR include services offered within Goodwill areas of focus, including: youth career development at the secondary level; job skills training and placement for adults; work options for individuals with disabilities within Goodwill; retail employment; and recycling.
  • Easterseals Colorado. Easterseals provides a variety of employment services to individuals with a range of disabilities. These services through Easterseals focus on individualized employment supports necessary for job seekers to work as independently as possible, including benefits counseling, customized employment, and Individualized Placement and Supports (IPS).
  • Bayaud Enterprises. Since 1969, Bayaud has changed the lives of thousands of individuals in the Denver community by providing employment training, assessment, coaching, placement, work incentives counseling and retention services. DVR purchases all of these services from Bayaud. Executive level Bayaud staff have long held active membership on the SRC.

DVR has a written Provider Agreement with these providers and many others to ensure availability of vocational rehabilitation services. The Provider Agreement process is designed to assure adherence to three procurement requirements:

  1. That all qualified vendors have the opportunity to compete for business with DVR if they choose;
  2. That all vendors will be treated equitably and will be paid for their services in accordance with a standard method of rate setting procedures; and
  3. That there will always be a written contract in place when annual expenditures to any vendor reach $25,000, as required by State Law, while assuring continuity of service provision to clients.

This effort has resulted in a consistent structure for establishing working relationships with service providers throughout the state and at the same time helps assure equitable payment across providers for the same types of services at the least possible cost.

Services are purchased based on competitive market rates instead of individual provider costs. Each vendor must complete the DVR Provider Agreement form to register them as potential provider of the specific services they are qualified to provide. Subsequent services purchased by DVR are limited to those identified on the agreement for which the vendor is registered.

The Provider Agreement obligates vendors to meet certain minimum qualifications as determined by DVR and agree to abide by the established payment procedures and rates for each service. Registration as a DVR vendor does not obligate vendors to provide services to DVR clients nor does it obligate DVR to purchase services from any given vendor. DVR strives to ensure an adequate pool of providers available to meet the needs and allow for the informed choice of all those seeking services from DVR.

Initial approval of the Provider Agreement, once signed by the vendor, is done at the local DVR field office. Approval then goes to DVR’s staff authorized to sign provider agreements under contract waiver H1115. This method encourages the DVR field office and the service provider to establish a strong understanding of each other’s roles and responsibilities in the provision of services to clients. It also puts the responsibility on the DVR field office supervisor to review the agreement for consistency between services offered and appropriate compliance with standards and credentials prior to their approval DVR counselors, and supervisors as applicable, authorize individual services for the individuals they work with.

DVR believes that these procedures help ensure that adequate contracting procedures are used and certify that:

  • Purchases of services and goods maximize the efficient and effective use of public funds;
  • Services and goods will only be purchased from qualified providers;
  • All vendors who wish to provide services to DVR clients have the opportunity to do so and are subject to a consistent set of terms and conditions; and
  • Most importantly, DVR clients have a wide range of options to choose from when selecting service providers.