Vocational Rehabilitation is a federally funded, state administered program that provides any necessary support and training to ensure that individuals with disabilities are able to obtain and maintain meaningful employment. Vocational Rehabilitation Services are typically offered as a part of the Transitioning Process, although they may take other forms.
Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) services begin with a determination of eligibility; generally, in order to qualify an individual has to have a disability that results in a barrier to employment, and has to demonstrate that he or she will benefit from VR services to prepare for, obtain, and keep or regain employment. Other VR services include assessing for skills, aptitude, and vocational needs, developing an Individualized Employment Plan (IEP), and providing and coordinating services to help the individual obtain and keep employment.
There are agencies that provide vocational rehabilitation services in every state, however the names of the agencies and the ways in which these services are delivered may differ. Below, you will find a list of resources available to help you and your family member with special needs learn more about and obtain vocational rehabilitation services.
Institute for Community Inclusion: Getting the Most from the Public Vocational Rehabilitation System
The Institute for Community Inclusion is an organization that offers training, clinical, and employment services, conducts research, and provides assistance to organizations to promotes inclusion of people with disabilities in school, work, and community activities. Their publication, “Getting the Most from the Public Vocational Rehabilitation System” is a great resource for learning about vocational rehabilitation, the services offered under vocational rehabilitation, and other information such as eligibility requirements, the steps to receiving the services, and the IPE (Individual Plan for Employment).
Vocational Rehabilitation: A Young Adult’s Guide
This document (available in .pdf format) is a guide to vocational rehabilitation – it offers accessible, age appropriate information to young adults about what vocational rehabilitation is, how to obtain vocational rehabilitation services, and the responsibilities of the person seeking employment and the counselor providing vocational rehabilitation assistance.
This website contains information on the Individualized Plan for Employment, generally referred to as the IPE. The IPE is the plan that every individual who obtains VR services will complete as the individual and the VR counselor agree on and set employment goals.
Job Accommodation Network
The Job Accommodation Network is a free service offered by the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy. On this website you will find a list of the Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies for every state. This list includes the name, address, telephone number, and website for every agency.
Client Assistance Program
The client assistance program is available in every state and provides information and advocacy for individuals with disabilities who may be having problems with vocational rehabilitation services. To find the CAP program in your state, please use the website below.
International Center for Disability Resources on the Internet: CAP Site Listings
This website contains a listing of the CAP (client assistance programs) in every state.
The United States Department of Labor Office of Disability Policy website contains a wealth of resources for families and individuals with special needs who wish to obtain employment. These resources include information on integrated employment, diversity and inclusion, self-employment and entrepreneurship, and statistics and information relevant to the topic of employment for individuals with disabilities.
This administration oversees grant programs that help individuals with physical or mental disabilities to obtain employment and live more independently. The have a grant program, Title I, which provides funds to state VR agencies to provide employment related services for individuals with disabilities.
VR Research In Brief
This document is a study that examines the relationship between vocational rehabilitation counselors and families. It is available in .pdf format.
As a part of our commitment to educating families on topics pertaining to special needs and special needs planning, M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC publishes a weekly informative blog. These blog cover a wide range of topics; please see below for a listing of blog posts that are relevant to vocational rehabilitation.
Please visit our Transitioning Resources Page, under Special Needs Resources on our website. This page contains information related to transitioning and transitioning services for Maryland, Washington, D.C., Virginia, and across the country.
M&L Special Needs Planning, LLC offers a free workshop, titled Transitioning Planning & a Discussion of Post Secondary Options that helps to explain the transitioning process, and includes a discussion on vocational rehabilitation. Please contact us for more information on this workshop, or to request that we offer in in a venue of your choice – we are willing to travel.