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:

p. 1. A. Identify the strategies that contributed to the achievement of the goals

Current Narrative:

Goal 1 - Provide quality, relevant, individualized vocational rehabilitation services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their career potential

Priority 1 - Expand, monitor, and improve pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities and similar services to youth.

The Division began collecting new baseline data for the number of students receiving Pre-ETS and has initial data in PY 2016 with the first full year of data in PY 2017 with 1180 students receiving at least one Pre-ETS activity.  PY 2018 number dipped 19.7 percent to 947 students receiving at least one Pre-ETS activity.  IDVR requires more data to determine whether this is due to natural regression, or other yet to be determined factors. Additionally, IDVR has experienced a Division wide decrease in overall applications for all services.  This overall trend of fewer applicants statewide may have a relationship to the overall reduction in Pre-ETS cases across Idaho.  The Division will continue to monitor these indicators and will respond accordingly as the baseline numbers solidify.

The Division continues to evaluate and improve services to students.  The transition coordinator, along with other transition staff, developed a strategic plan in Fall 2019 with the goal of systematically advancing the Division forward with the delivery of Pre-ETS.  This new strategic plan for Pre-ETS expansion and improvement is detailed in section L of this plan.

Priority 2- Provide a comprehensive array of services to individuals with disabilities, including individuals with Most Significant Disabilities (MSD).

IDVR has engaged in a determined expansion of Supported Employment services, including a heightened focus on employment stability prior to the transition to long-term supports.  As a result, the Division has seen the cost of SE cases increase year-over-year from $1218 per case in PY 2016 to $2,345 in PY 2018, an increase of 92% spent per SE case.  This increase helped promote initial stability through additional hours of Job Coaching for individuals to master the essential function of the position to employer satisfaction.

The Division has introduced stronger guidance, for staff and CRPs, on fading and appropriate reduction of support over time to ensure strategies are in place to either address current issues on the job or determine a base level of ongoing support required prior to transition to ongoing support services. These efforts are ongoing, and the Division is currently working through public comment to enhance this guidance in a new iteration of the IDVR’s CRP Manual.  Enhanced guidance on fading and documenting progress necessary to justify the continuation of SE services will be major components of the PY 2020 iteration of the manual.

Additionally, the Division has completed phase one of its Customized Employment pilot.  The three-site pilot intended to determine appropriate rate, capacity and inform policy development around the delivery of  CE statewide.  While CE can be offered to individuals who require SE, components of CE are valuable to individuals with the most significant disabilities as well.  The initial phase of the pilot illustrated significant challenges to provider turnover and sustainable training to achieve fidelity to the CE model IDVR has selected. The Division is currently structuring a second pilot to address challenges experienced in phase one.  The Division anticipates a relaunch of Customized Employment 2.0 sometime in PY 2020.

The Division has received intensive TA from WINTAC and is currently engaged in WINTAC’s Community of Practice (CoP) on both Supported and Customized Employment.

The Division has included Benefits Planning on its Strategic Plan for PY 2019 but has pushed this initiative to PY 2020.  Benefits Planning has been identified as a priority by Idaho’s State Rehabilitation Council, and IDVR's field management.

Youth Extended Services has been established as a service category and is now available in cases where no alternative external source of extended services is available.

Priority 3 - Hire and retain qualified staff to deliver quality vocational rehabilitation services.

IDVR has accomplished several initiatives to increase retention and attract new hires for counselor and management level positions, including:

  • Marketing materials update to highlight VR career path, meaningful work, and benefits offered to State Employees
  • Increased outreach to universities, CRCC, and through attendance at NCRE to expand candidate reach
  • Streamlined the recruitment process and updated job postings to make them more jobseeker focused
  • Created internship program to build talent pipeline and continue collaboration with neighboring universities
  • Updated CSPD policy to offer financial support to employees working towards their VR credentials
  • Created permanent Assistant Regional Manager (ARM) positions to support the coordinated development of staff (with an emphasis on new staff), increase potential for career growth, and for succession planning purposes
  • Continuously supporting managers and their employees in performance management process
  • Restructured onboarding processes to engage new hires, standardize training, and foster a positive experience for new employees
  • Partner with IDVR's VRC Trainer to increase and align skill set of agency personnel
  • Updated pay structure for all Division position classifications to hire at the minimum of 80% policy rate

Priority 4 - Improve usage of Labor Market Information/Career Pathways to inform customer career choice.

IDVR engaged with the Career Index Plus and the Idaho Department of Labor in various ways:

The Career Index Plus (TCI+) training was offered to frontline staff statewide to provide additional options for staff when exploring LMI with customers.  The Idaho Department of Labor came to IDVR’s Inservice to provide training on local labor markets and how to use the tools provided by IDOL including accessing local labor economists to better understand local area conditions. Training on Comprehensive Assessment incorporating local labor market data was emphasized in a major statewide training on quality case documentation, an area of focus for PY 2018.

The Division included an evaluation of LMI present in Comprehensive Assessments in its 2019 Case File Review Season and will be promoting greater utilization of local (or anticipated) labor market for the vocational goal of choice.  Additionally, the Division imposed a ban on the utilization of generic ‘all other service workers’ type goals outside of Pre-ETS cases (where a vague vocational goal is allowable while student/youth career exploration solidifies). 

Goal 2 - Improve VR program efficiency through continuous quality improvement activities

Priority 1 - Meet or exceed negotiated targets on Primary Performance Indicators 1-5 established by the US Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration.

Initial efforts to utilize targets first require the establishment of data agreements and subsequent baseline data.  IDVR, through an initial ad-hoc data agreement, was able to secure in-state wage data through IDOL, however only aggregate out-of-state data were available through IDOL’s WRIS-2 due to constraints imposed by the agreement.  As of September 2019, Idaho’s core program partners have all signed on to the State Wage Interchange System (SWIS) and will now be able to gather additional out-of-state data from other SWIS states.  IDVR is well positioned to enter target negotiation with RSA. It is worth noting that there are significant out-of-state overlaps with local labor markets, particularly in north Idaho with estimates that approach 12% out-of-state placement.

IDOL secured a Workforce Data Quality Initiative WDQI grant from US DOL with expressed support from the Division.  IDVR is working with the WDQI lead and other core WIOA programs to leverage the WDQI resources to improve and automate the exchange of secure co-enrollment data and other critical shared elements of importance to the group. As a result of efforts identified in the WDQI, core programs should realize more efficient and secure data exchange of required WIOA data elements needed by multiple core partners.

Outcomes of Primary Performance Indicators are preliminary.  Currently complete data is only available for Measurable Skill Gains, while employment/wage data continues to come online. 

A critical focus of the new Case File Review Protocol was the verification of documentation of educational goals. Preliminary findings indicate that while Division staff are doing an exceptional job of collecting educational verification, we are challenged with entering MSGs in all cases for performance reporting purposes.  The Division currently has an understanding of areas it can improve on from PY 2018 performance.  The Division will champion an effort to report more complete MSG data in PY 2019. The Division will also use information gained in the review of PY 2018 performance to establish and improve an MSG anomalies/data validation check to better promote field entry of educational goals where they are currently lacking. Further identification of core performance elements for improvement are dependent on the future exchange of this data to solidify baselines.

Priority 2 - Revise IDVR’s Customer Satisfaction Survey in collaboration with the State Rehabilitation Council to increase the response rate, retention rate, and overall satisfaction rate.

IDVR has completely revamped the Customer Satisfaction Survey based on feedback from Idaho’s SRC and SRC Survey Subcommittee.  As a result, the Division realized major gains in completion rates (from 40 to 98 percent) and response rates (from five to 15 percent).  Moving forward, the Division will focus on an increase in satisfaction and maintain a focus on keeping a solid response rate. 

Regarding satisfaction, the foundational questions have been changed, and data are not directly comparable.  However, the Division has seen a seven percent drop in the ‘satisfaction’ construct with the change in language, and a change in method in calculating overall satisfaction (87 percent to 80 percent satisfied or very satisfied).  Additional variance in this in this rate may be explained by a modification of the Division’s Financial Participation Agreement, which coincided with the change in CSS survey and substantially increased customer financial involvement in their plans.  General impacts of WIOA implementation may also play a role in explaining the reduced satisfaction rate.

Priority 3 - Maximize the utilization of comparable benefits.

Preliminary attention has been given to this priority and understanding comparable benefit utilization and documentation was a focus of IDVR’s 2019 Case File Review.  Emerging data suggests a need to further information and communication activities to not only maximize the utilization of comparable benefits and services, but also to better document these benefits on the plan when they are used.

IDVR is increasing appropriate referral to American Job Center Network Partners in local areas: IDVR’s administrator is Idaho’s Workforce Development Council One-Stop chairperson, and in this capacity has increased local area engagement between WIOA combined plan partners and other stakeholders.  This is accomplished via multiple monthly in-person meetings to facilitate better understanding of programs and increase utilization of available resources and expertise. This should have an impact on volume and validity of referrals to comparable services and resources and a corresponding increase in co-enrollment between combined plan partners.

The Division has also issued recent guidance clarifying the scope of comparable benefits and included procedures for better documenting comparable benefits on the IPE.

IDVR is using RSA’s data dashboards as a part of its data validation strategy.  In this analysis the Division has uncovered a flaw in how these are represented in the report through the Aware case management system.  IDVR is working hand-in-hand with Aware to better understand and rectify this reporting error.

Priority 4 - Increase IDVR integration with the workforce development system.

The IDVR Administrator is the Workforce Development Council (WDC) One-Stop Committee Chair.  The Committee has prioritized numerous activities since the last State Plan, including:

  • Formalizing Idaho’s One-Stop/American Job Center structure: two comprehensive centers (Idaho Falls and Lewiston), designating affiliate sites, and network partners. 
  • Negotiating a cost-sharing agreement. 
  • Conducting both physical and programmatic accessibility of comprehensive, affiliate, and network partner sites. 
  • Advancing data sharing to obtain co-enrollment information.

Priority 5 - Evaluate IDVR assessment expenditures.

While the evaluation of assessment expenditures remains a priority for the agency, progress on this priority was minimal this PY.

Priority 6 - Revise internal case review process to align with WIOA requirements, and inform the continuous quality improvement cycle.

Priority 6 has been met with a complete revision of the internal case review process which now aligns with RSA’s Internal Control and data validation requirements and is periodically informed by the MTAG and emerging and existing agency priorities and progress. An annual review season pilot of this protocol is focused on high risk areas as identified by compliance objectives, agency personnel, CSNA, SRC and other sources. Additionally, more complex or ad hoc topics will be addressed through a series of targeted reviews which will rotate based on administration prioritization.

The result of the revision has been a substantial increase in meaningful information that can be easily translated into action for program improvement.  Emerging data from the 2019 case file review season indicated numerous areas for immediate training and improvement statewide, and at a regional level.  As a result, this protocol will be institutionalized and completed annually as a part of addressing IDVR’s overall internal control monitoring requirements.  The Planning and Evaluation unit will continue to iterate to improve on this process, but can now focus on incremental improvements versus the transformational system overhaul that is now complete.

Priority 7 - Collaborate with Community Rehabilitation Program partners to improve the quality of services.

IDVR is in the middle of fundamentally shifting how we communicate with and work with our Community Rehabilitation Providers (CRPs).  Fundamental to these changes was the establishment of a formalized CRP Manual articulating and clarifying expectations and requirements around billing, service delivery, monitoring, pilot CRP projects, rural and underserved areas and frequently asked questions.  The Division is in the middle of a revision phase and is currently collecting comment from internal field staff and CRPs to make incremental improvements to the guide and will continue to do so over time.

The Division partnered with three Idaho CRPs to launch phase one of the Customized Employment pilot.  While ultimately unsuccessful, the pilot indicated many potential changes for improvement in phase two and identified areas for clarification in expectations.  The second phase is being developed with input from national technical assistance centers, Idaho pilot CRPs and field staff who were a part of the original training series.  The second pilot phase is expected to launch in PY 2020.

Customer Satisfaction Survey results for CRP services (including assessment services) are particularly low and indicate a strong need to elevate this priority in the coming PY. 

IDVR realizes a need to further enhance collaboration with CRPs to work on a variety of services from assessment, to job development and placement and to include supported and customized employment.  Data from the 2016 CSNA and preliminary results from the 2019-2020 CSNA (in process) strongly indicate a need to utilize Innovation and Expansion funds to elevate the quality of CRPs in the coming state plan. This will be a primary emphasis for the Division in this plan.

Priority 8 - Evaluate Customer Access to Services

Priority 8 was de-emphasized following a risk assessment and prioritization activity held with frontline management staff and members of the SRC. This element was a product of a prior SRC priority, but after a shift in member composition the priorities changed.

Goal 3 - Meet the needs of Idaho businesses

Priority 1 - IDVR to be recognized by the business community as the disability experts in the workforce system.

The Business Relations Liaison oversees the coordination of employer related outreach efforts within the Division and to coordinate employer contact under the aegis of WIOA through partnerships with Titles I-IV and other combined state plan partners.

In 2017 the Business Engagement Team (BET) was created comprised of at least one-to-two IDVR staff in each regional office and activities of the BET are directed by the Business Relations Liaison.  Regional Management representation is strong on the team, with three of eight RMs participating in an advisory role. The BET has evolved a mission statement, “To intentionally create and maintain long term partnerships with businesses for mutually beneficial outcomes for employers and job seekers with disabilities”. 

Following the creation of an initial charter, sponsored by Division administration, the BET has engaged in a number of preliminary activities, including the creation of a mandatory “Business Basics” online training for all staff, a method for tracking business outreach activities through our internal case management system, updates to IDVR’s external business relations portal, and development of marketing materials for business outreach and education.

Activities for the BET are partly informed by an annual survey.  This survey helps the Business Relations Liaison prioritize activities based on input from the field.  The latest survey indicated high perceived needs for Disability Awareness training (indicated by 68 percent of BET staff as a need), Accommodations and Assistive Technology (65 percent), and Hiring Incentives for Employers (68 percent).  Additionally, the BET is now active in most of the chambers of commerce across Idaho including representation in each region of IDVR.

A toolbox for members of the BET has now been established and is growing.  The toolbox features resources BET and other IDVR staff can use to promote positive employer engagement. There are tools for staff as well as a growing number of tools designed for employers including a new initiative to create a training for employers around disability etiquette.   This group will be meeting early in 2020 to draft a formal strategic plan and further refine and articulate goals, strategies, priorities and staff responsibilities under the team.  Expanding outreach to employers for students and youth in transition is a primary consideration for the coming year for the BET with a business engagement transition pilot for IDVR Region 1 launching in 2020. 

As a part of the BET activities in PY 2018, the team led a presentation at IDVR’s annual all-staff Inservice to help explain how they serve as regional resources to promote positive business engagement opportunities.

The unit, while new, has engaged in two in-depth activities with major Idaho corporations (WinCo and HP).  While talks with WinCo are still preliminary, the HP Spectrum Success Program is a direct result of sustained engagement and partnership with HP and would not have been possible without the help of Washington State Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and Microsoft who had engaged in some trailblazing efforts matching individuals with autism and STEM jobs.  The willingness of these partners to provide technical assistance and expertise were instrumental in the program’s success and as a result HP is engaging in a second cohort with IDVR beginning in early 2020. 

IDVR will continue to coordinate business outreach efforts with the Idaho Department of Labor, and their business outreach team which serves as the central point of contact for WIOA coordinated business outreach activities.

IDVR’s Business Relations Liaison is engaged with the National Employment Team (the NET) and attends the national conference in addition to receiving regular updates, conference calls provided through a NET community of practice.  IDVR also has a working group through federal Region X (WA, OR, AK, ID) where business engagement leads from each state share best practices and approaches. 

IDVR has traditionally engaged in the creation of “VR Success Stories” to showcase strong annual placements.  The Business Relations Liaison and the BET have worked to overhaul, expand, and professionalize these segments and will now producing multiple success stories per Region, with two being selected for a full video production which showcases the customer and employer’s success with these placements.