- 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
Coordination with Employers
The Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) has formalized a Business Relations Program, with the vision to build and sustain partnerships with business and industry through effective services that meet the needs of employers. These partnerships will lead to competitive integrated employment and career exploration opportunities for VR customers, including those receiving pre-employment transition services.
Efforts are underway in the Business Relations Program to define and customize services to employers, create strategic partnerships to support workforce needs and establish an employment-focused culture within the rehabilitation process. Listed below are the program’s goals, objectives and strategies.
Goal 1: Become the foremost recognized and trusted resource for employers’ disability inclusion needs.
Objective: Increase the number of employers engaged as business partners.
- Develop and use a standard business needs assessment.
- Develop and use a business customer satisfaction tool.
- Staff and train a team that is responsive to business. The team includes the program administrator; a senior VR consultant; a business projects specialist; and 11 business relations representatives located across the state in each of VR’s seven administrative areas.
- Implement a business customer relationship management tool.
- Define the services offered to employers and customize them to meet business needs.
- Create statewide consistency in business relations outreach and services.
- Use targeted marketing to engage employers across multiple industries.
- Participate in business-led organizations, such as Chambers of Commerce, Disability: IN, trade and sector specific organizations, etc.
- Create strategic practices that can be replicated across the state.
- Align services with the Workforce Development Boards and other community partners.
- Participate in the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation’s National Employment Team (NET) and the NET-Southeast regional team to share referrals and best practices.
- Engage with Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) core partners to share best practices.
Goal 2: Become a top resource for employers in need of qualified employees.
Objective: Increase referrals of qualified applicants to business partners.
- Facilitate direct access to qualified applicants through business relationships.
- Market career opportunities internally to VR staff.
- Use the AbilitiesWork Help Desk for applicant-matching services for employers.
- Coordinate support services provided by VR contractors.
- Provide a seamless connection to VR services and qualified applicants across a company’s footprint locally, regionally, statewide and nationally through the NET.
- Engage in local talent pool coordination with other agencies to meet businesses’ workforce needs.
- Participate with the NET and the Talent Acquisition Portal (TAP) to create increased opportunities for VR job seekers and employers recruiting VR job seekers.
- Collaborate with business to create a pipeline of qualified candidates.
Goal 3: Expand career opportunities for VR candidates.
Objective: Prepare ready-to-work applicants for in-demand careers and jobs that are available now.
- Meet with business and industry to assess workforce needs to better align training with those needs.
- Communicate information from employers about business needs and qualification requirements to VR staff.
- Engage in sector partnerships.
- Provide information to VR staff about in-demand jobs and high growth industries and sectors using labor market information.
- Collaborate with business and education to determine industry-recognized training opportunities and inform VR staff about them.
- Collaborate with WIOA core partners to share resources and best practices.
- Generate opportunities for worksite training, including pre-employment transition services, with business partners.
Florida VR is working in collaboration with University of Massachusetts, Boston for technical assistance related to business engagement.