Vocational Rehabilitation Program Management

For many years, InfoUse has worked with state agencies and researchers on identification of needs and development of tools for the management of the Federal-State vocational rehabilitation system. InfoUse’s experience includes several projects that advanced management capabilities and concepts in VR.

InfoUse is currently working on the RSA project Developing A Model Comprehensive Statewide Needs Assessment with Corresponding Training Materials For State VR Agency Staff and SRC Members. As part of this project InfoUse is examining existing internal data as well as external data to provide a model technique to determine needs for VR services in the state. The results of the comprehensive statewide needs assessment provide an input for the state’s rehabilitation plan, and the development of goals, priorities, and strategies for the state agency to pursue.

InfoUse, as subcontractor to Westat, is completing the Post Vocational Rehabilitation Experiences Study. This study of the VR program was the second longitudinal study of 8,000 VR consumers who exited the program with or without employment outcomes. It surveyed four specific groups of VR consumers: people with mental retardation, people with mental illness, students in transition, and recipients of Social Security benefits. In this study, InfoUse had major responsibility for the study conceptual framework and design, survey questions, and is collaborating with Westat in development of the study report on data findings. InfoUse was a partner in the design of the first longitudinal study and the development of the study design for the second longitudinal study, both with RTI.

InfoUse is also partnering with RTI International on the Targeted Evaluations of State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency Practices, with InfoUse focusing on the quality assurance portion of the evaluations and on selected Comprehensive Rehabilitation Centers. As part of this project, InfoUse is conducting site visits and reviews of state materials, including VR data.

InfoUse was a partner in the National Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Independent Living Center Management, where we conducted research on the extent of collaboration between vocational rehabilitation state agencies and independent living centers, related to employment outcomes.

In 2005, InfoUse conducted a study for RSA entitled Measurement of Key Variables Related to Performance in State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies, identifying assessment tools and other means to measure organizational leadership, communication, use of performance data, automated case management systems and focus of resources on front-line services.

InfoUse conducted the Evaluation of Quality Assurance Systems in State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies. The project had three broad purposes: (1) To describe the nature and scope of quality assurance (QA) systems, (2) to nominate exemplary QA systems, and (3) to develop a manual that provides guidance to State VR agencies for evaluating their QA systems or developing new QA systems and to RSA for evaluating State VR agency QA. The project's activities included literature review of QA systems in VR, site visits, a mail survey of all state VR agency Directors, statistical analyses of survey results and in-depth site visits to fifteen state VR agencies to explore issues of QA implementation. Study results include a final report and a manual on QA systems for use by State VR agencies.

Evaluating the Choice Demonstration Projects of RSA. In a contract to RSA, InfoUse conducted an evaluation of the organizations implementing expanded provisions for consumer choice in services, and developed a technical assistance manual of VR practices supporting choice.

InfoUse has also participated in the National Evaluation of Vocational Assessment Procedures and the IWRP Process Used by State VR Agencies, with Research Triangle Institute, North Carolina. This project evaluated the methods used by state agencies in vocational assessment and in the development of the individual rehabilitation plans (at the time of the study, IWRP). This study included site visits and management and service provider discussions in state agencies.

The project Strategies for Common Measures of Employment Outcomes for the Program (with RTI) included development and administration of a survey of all the American Indian Vocational Rehabilitation Services (AIVRS) grantees, with respect to capacity for implementing required employment performance measures, and technical assistance for grantees.

Evaluation of the Validity of Rehabilitation Services Administration Data Reports. This 1994 study of the state-federal Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) client information systems had the major purposes of documenting and providing a balanced assessment of potential improvements to RSA's R911 client information system. Among the activities that the study team performed during the contract were a comprehensive research review of client information systems in VR, an analysis of facility costs and utilization patterns, and an identification of data enhancements to the RSA client information system used by VR agencies.

In addition, prior to InfoUse, staff have directed Technical Assistance to the States in Their Efforts to Disseminate and Evaluate Policy and Program Development Through Model Evaluation and Management Information Systems, Functions, and Structures a three-year project to develop state-level programs for improving the use of management information to support services, evaluation, and policy making.