Chapter 2: Standards for Work Readiness Services

(Revised 07/16)

2.1 Overview

Work Readiness Services prepare participants to get, keep, and excel at a new job. Throughout the VR process, DARS provides and purchases services to support each consumer in achieving an individualized level of work readiness as it pertains to their disability, support needs, and specific employment goals. Services that can be purchased by Employment Service Providers focus on training related to disability issues, vocational adjustment, interpersonal skills training, and workforce readiness issues that interfere with their participation in obtaining or maintaining employment. Work Readiness services often benefit consumers who have not been employed for a long period of time.

Note Related to Supported Employment: If a consumer is determined to need Supported Employment, the consumer most likely will not be a candidate for Work Readiness Training because consumers who need Supported Employment services have difficulty in transferring skills learned in one setting and then transferring to another setting and will need long-term supports to be successfully employed.

2.2 Key Terms

Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD): ADHD is a persistent pattern of inattention and/or hyperactivity and impulsivity that interferes with functioning or development as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-5).

Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD): ASD is characterized, in varying degrees, by difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication, repetitive behaviors, and hyperreactivity or hyporeactivity to sensory input as defined by the DSM-5.

Best Fit Environment: The best fit environment is the environment in which most skills were scored as "excellent" and/or had the fewest skills scored as "poor."

Credential: Proof that a third party has evaluated an individual's professional knowledge, skills, competency, and ethics to determine whether he or she has the competency required to perform specific tasks and functions. Credentials are required for providers of certain employment services to DARS consumers.

Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP)*: A program that provides directly, or facilitates the provision of, one or more vocational rehabilitation services to people whom DARS serves. It includes, but is not limited to such services as medical services, counseling, rehabilitation technology, evaluation and testing, and employment.*
*Based on CFR §361.5 Applicable definitions.

Cover Letter: A letter sent with a résumé to provide additional information on the applicant's skills and experience.

Department of Labor: A federal agency whose purpose is to foster, promote, and develop the welfare of wage earners, job seekers, and retirees of the United States; improve working conditions; advance opportunities for profitable employment; and assure work-related benefits and rights. In carrying out this mission, the Department of Labor administers and enforces more than 180 federal laws and thousands of federal regulations.

Developmental Disorders (DDs): Developmental disorders comprise a group of conditions with onset in the developmental period. They are characterized by developmental deficits that produce impairments of personal, social, academic, or occupational functioning as stated by the DSM-5. Examples include autism spectrum disorder, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, specific learning disabilities, and intellectual developmental disorder.

Direct Time: Time spent with the consumer.

Extension Activities: Activities a trainer can use to continue and/or reinforce topics and skills learned in the core activities required within a service. Examples include field trips, guest speakers, videos, and any other resources that continue the development of skills and knowledge related to the required curriculum.

Environmental Work Assessment (EWA): A diagnostic tool used for assessing and planning the most appropriate work environment for a consumer. The EWA focuses on the consumer's responses to the variables in a work environment rather than on how the consumer performs the job.

Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC): An independent agency of the federal government that preserves and promotes public confidence in the U.S. financial system. DARS uses the FDIC's "Money Smart" curriculum within the VAT services.

Indirect Time: Time spent when the consumer is not present.

Hard Skills: Skills related to professional knowledge, tools, or techniques that allow a person to perform the essential functions of a job.

Intellectual Developmental Disorder: Intellectual developmental disorder is a disorder with an onset during the developmental period that includes both intellectual and adaptive functioning deficits in conceptual, social, and practical domains as defined by the DSM-5.

Interview Training: Includes instruction in the interview process used by businesses to select the most suitable candidates for their positions. Interview training includes learning how to research a business prior to the interview; formulation of interview questions to be asked by the potential employee to ask the business interviewer(s); prepared responses to standard interview questions asked by businesses; instruction in attire, makeup, and hairstyles acceptable for interview; and training in non-verbal communication. Mock interviews may be used as a training technique.

Interim Staffing: Communication about a case between the provider and DARS, which may include the consumer and the consumer's Circle of Supports, and which happens outside of any required staffing for a service.

Internship: The position of a student or trainee who works in an organization, sometimes without pay, in order to gain work experience.For information on Internship and the Federal Labor Act: http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf.

Job Accommodation Network (JAN): The leading source of free, expert, and confidential guidance on workplace accommodations and disability employment issues. Working toward practical solutions that benefit both employer and employee, JAN helps people with disabilities to enhance their employability and shows employers how to capitalize on the value and talent that people with disabilities add to the workplace. For more information, go to the JAN website, https://askjan.org/.

Job Application Completion: The process of completing applications for employment that are used by companies to hire employees. Job application can be completed in a paper format or by completing a form online at a company's website or at a hiring kiosk in a store or business. Application completion may include answering pre-employment screening questionnaires.

Job Ready: When the consumer has all the necessary training and tools needed with supports in place to begin seeking employment in his or her chosen career. This is different for each consumer, because each consumer has different skills, abilities, interests, and career goals.

Journaling Activities: Activities which offer a way to incorporate personal reflection with an individualized means of expression, such as dictating ideas, drawing, or writing poems. The purpose of the journaling topic is to allow the consumer to gain insight into his or her thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the content taught and to identify skills that may further improve his or her success.

Occupational Information Network (O*NET): A national source of occupational information. The O*NET database has information on hundreds of standardized and occupation-specific descriptors. The database, which is available to the public at no cost, is continually updated by surveying a broad range of workers from each occupation. O*NET is an interactive application for exploring and searching occupations. It is developed under the sponsorship of the US Department of Labor/Employment and Training Administration (USDOL/ETA) through a grant to the North Carolina Department of Commerce. For more information, go to http://www.onetonline.org/.

Personal Adjustment Training: Focuses on the development of an individual's capabilities to the optimal level of social, emotional, and vocational skills necessary to function within both the community and work settings.

Post-staffing: Communication about a case between the provider and DARS that sometimes includes the consumer and the consumer's Circle of Supports that occurs at the completion of a service.

Pre-employment Testing: Can include aptitude, skills, literacy, personality, medical, and drug tests as well as background checks to verify work history and credentials.

Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS): Services provided to individuals meeting the definition of a student with a disability. Individuals not meeting this definition can receive the same services; however, they are not counted as Pre-ETS and should only be paid with VR budget, not Pre-ETS budget. The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) defined a total of 14 Pre-ETS categories. Five of these categories are required and the other nine categories can be considered after the required services are considered or provided. WIOA requires that 15 percent of federal vocational rehabilitation funds be spent on Pre-ETS services.

Pre-staffing: Communication about a case between the provider and DARS that sometimes includes the consumer and the consumer's Circle of Supports that occurs before any service is provided.

Professional References: Recommendations for employment from such persons as managers, colleagues, clients, business contacts, and others who can attest to your skills, qualifications, and abilities.

Public Transportation: Any form of transit service available for use by the general public that charges set fares. For example: taxies, ride-sharing (Uber/Lyft), buses, para-transit, subways, ferries, and trains.

Rehabilitation Policy Manual (RPM): Contains all policies and procedures governing the provision of services through the Division of Rehabilitation Services.

Résumé: A written compilation of education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments that is used to apply for some jobs. Several types of résumés are used: chronological, functional, combination, or targeted. Not all jobs require a résumé.

Situational Assessment: An assessment of the real job task(s), paid or non- paid, that exist in an industry related to the consumer's identified interest.

Soft Skills: Behavioral competencies, also known as interpersonal skills or "people skills." Soft skills are the skills, traits, work habits, and attitudes that all workers across all occupations need in order to obtain, maintain, and progress in employment.

Specific Learning Disorder: A specific learning disorder characterized by difficulties in learning and using academics skills as defined by the DSM-5. Examples include dyslexia, dyscalculia, and impairment in written expression.

Standard Occupational Classification System (SOC): System used by federal statistical agencies to classify workers into occupational categories for the purpose of collecting, calculating, or disseminating data. All workers are classified into one of 840 detailed occupations according to their occupational definition. To facilitate classification, detailed occupations are combined to form 23 major groups, 97 minor groups, and 461 broad occupations. Detailed occupations in the SOC with similar job duties, and in some cases skills, education, and/or training are grouped together.

Targeted Job Tasks or Skills: Those tasks or skills identified as part of the assessment and planning process of job placement, enhanced job placement and supported employment that the consumer has the ability and interest to perform.

Temporary Waiver for UNT Credential: An option to temporarily set aside the contractual requirement for UNT credentials when it is in the best interest of the consumer or when there are no CRP employees available with the required UNT credential who can provide the needed employment service. Each waiver must be approved according to the current policy.

Thank You Letters: Letters that the consumer sends after a job interview to the people who interviewed him or her. Thank you letters express appreciation for being considered for the job, emphasize interest in the position, and offer an opportunity to provide additional information about the applicant's qualifications.

The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP): A federal agency authorized by Congress to ensure that people with disabilities are fully integrated into the 21st century workforce. ODEP is a sub-cabinet level policy agency within the Department of Labor. ODEP sponsors policy and technical assistance resources to assist with the development of disability employment-related policies and practices.

Transferable Skills: The skills and knowledge acquired through personal experience such as schooling, jobs, classes, hobbies, or life experiences.

Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT): Services that help a consumer learn and adjust to the daily workplace routine, developing competencies and essential skills necessary to function successfully on the job and in the community.

Vocational Assessment: A global appraisal of an individual's work and training background, general functional capacities, and social and behavioral characteristics.

Vocational Evaluation: A specific process involving the appraisal of a person's work-related characteristics, which is important for education and training to obtain and maintain employment.

Volunteering: Generally an activity where an individual provides services for no financial gain.

Work Adjustment Training: A structured program that prepares a consumer for competitive integrated work in the community by teaching skills, motivating, developing work tolerances, and addressing behaviors in a controlled work setting.

Worksite accommodations: Environmental changes, assistive technology devices, techniques, or work process changes that improve the ability of a person with a disability to perform in his or her work environment and/or complete his or her work.

Work Experience: May include volunteering, participating in an internship, or temporary paid work aimed to increase the consumer's understanding of work culture, work expectations, and skills (soft and hard) associated with a specific vocational industry.

2.3 Fees

(Revised 01/07, 12/08, 09/09, 01/10, 03/11, 12/14, 05/15, 08/15, 09/15)

Fees for Work Readiness Services Defined in this Chapter

The following tables show the fees for work readiness services provided by employment service providers:

Environmental Work Assessment (EWA) Unit Rate Comment
Environmental Work Assessment $990.00 Autism specialization credentials required

 

Personal-Social Adjustment Training (PSAT) Unit Rate Comment
PSAT $17.50 per hour

For up to 15 hours per calendar week.

DARS does not pay for excused, unexcused, or holiday absences.

PSAT for the Deaf $21.50 per hour

For up to 20 hours per calendar week.

DARS does not pay for excused, unexcused, or holiday absences.

 

Vocational Adjustment Training for Work Readiness Services Unit Rate Comment
Explore the You in Work $342.50 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Explore the You in Work (Deaf Premium) $195.00 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Soft Skills for Work Success $513.75 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Soft Skills for Work Success (Deaf Premium) $292.50 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Soft Skills to Pay the Bills $685.00 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Soft Skills to Pay the Bills (Deaf Premium) $390.00 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Entering the World of Work $342.50 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Entering the World of Work (Deaf Premium) $195.00 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Preparing for the Job Search $685.00 No more than 6 individuals in a group; available before ETS (Employment Training Services) only
Preparing for the Job Search (Deaf Premium Service) $390.00 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Disability Disclosure $685.00 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Disability Disclosure (Deaf Premium Service) $390.00 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Money Smart $1,027.50 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Money Smart (Deaf Premium Service) $585.00 No more than 6 individuals in a group
Public Transportation Training (Individual) Negotiated up to $37.50 per hour N/A
Public Transportation Training (Group) Negotiated up to $19.00 per hour, per consumer No more than 4 individuals in a group
Public Transportation Training (Individual for the Deaf) Negotiated up to $55.25 per hour N/A
Public Transportation Training (Group, for the Deaf) Negotiated up to $27.50 per hour, per consumer No more than 4 individuals in a group

 

Vocational Evaluation Unit Rate Comment
Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation $1,880.00 Fee for a minimum of 8 days of testing
Vocational Assessment (2–5 days) $235.00 per day With a maximum of $1,175

 

Work Adjustment Training Unit Rate Comment
Work Adjustment Training $7.50 per hour

For up to 25 hours per calendar week.

DARS does not pay for excused, unexcused or holiday absences.

 

Work Experience Services Unit Rate Comment
Work Experience Monitoring $200.00 N/A
Work Experience Placement $750.00 N/A
Work Experience Training/Coaching (Individual) Negotiated up to $37.50 per hour N/A
Work Experience Training/Coaching (Individual, for the Deaf) Negotiated up to $55.25 per hour N/A
Work Experience Training/Coaching (Group) Negotiated up to $19.00 per hour, per individual No more than 4 individuals in a group
Work Experience Training/Coaching (Group, for the Deaf) Negotiated up to $27.50 per hour No more than 4 individuals in a group

Note: An employment service provider does not collect money from a DARS consumer or the consumer's family for any service charged in excess of DARS fees. If DARS and another resource are paying for a service for a consumer, the total payment must not exceed the fee specified in the DRS Standards for Providers.

2.4 Vocational Evaluation

2.4.1 Service Overview

A vocational evaluation is a process involving the appraisal of a person's work-related characteristics, which are important for education and training to obtain and maintain employment. DARS vocational evaluation services include vocational assessment and comprehensive vocational evaluation. See definition below for more information on each form of evaluation.

2.4.2 Staff Qualifications

A Vocational Evaluator must meet at least one of the following qualifications:

A Vocational Evaluator Aide must have one year of actual work experience in vocational areas directly related to Vocational Evaluation. A Vocational Evaluator Aide may apply postsecondary education in a related field to substitute for actual work experience.

The Community Rehabilitation Program (CRP) director must approve the DARS3455, Community Rehabilitation Program Staff Information form, which is completed by both the Vocational Evaluator and the Vocational Evaluator Aide.

2.4.3 Procedures and Process

  1. DARS3480, Referral for Vocational Evaluation form is completed by the counselor and will indicate reasons for referral and specific questions to be addressed in the evaluation or assessment.
  2. The evaluation or assessment process must include techniques to determine consumer:
    1.  employment assets and liabilities,
    2.  potential for training, and
    3.  overall work adjustment to determine the following:
      1. case history including the consumer's personal, education, employment, and medical histories, and daily living activities;
      2. physical and psychomotor capacities gained through sources such as work samples, observations, and/or medical reports; 
      3. academic achievements related to reading, writing, spelling, and mathematics;
      4. aptitude (includes work sampling);
      5. vocational interests;
      6. psychological and emotional stability (medical records, interview data, behavioral observation, consumer self-report);
      7. intellectual capacities;
      8. occupational exploration;
      9. work tolerance;
      10. work habits and attitudes;
      11. job-seeking skills;
      12. potential benefit from rehabilitation services; and
      13. job objectives.
  3. DARS will not pay any fees related to excused or unexcused absences or holidays.
  4. If a Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation or Vocational Assessment cannot be completed in its entirety, a DARS3472 can be submitted to request partial payment for work that has been completed. The partial work product, such as a report and documentation of time spent in completing the deliverables achieved, must be submitted with the DARS3472 request. Partial payments will be based on $39 per hour for up to a maximum of $235 per day. The achievement of required deliverables and hours spent will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. See Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.11 Record Keeping for information on how to complete the DARS3472.
  5. Staff-to-Consumer Ratio must not exceed 1 to 6. A competent Aide under the supervision of the Vocational Evaluator may be used when consumers exceed 6 but may not exceed 12. The ratio of Evaluator Aides to the Evaluator must not exceed 2 to 1.

2.4.4 Vocational Assessment

2.4.4.1 Service Definition

Vocational Assessment is an appraisal of an individual's work/training background, general functional capacities, and social/behavioral characteristics, and must contain specific information in behavioral terms stressing the vocational implications of relevant factors outlined below:

  1. Results of evaluator findings and observations;
  2. Suitability for competitive or sheltered employment;
  3. Job recommendations related to the current job market [use Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes] in the consumer's geographic area;
  4. Specific training possibilities and capabilities;
  5. Specific job modifications; and
  6. Reasons for unemployability.

The vocational assessment must be done:

The number of days is negotiated between the evaluator and the referring counselor. The number of days allowed for the assessment will be indicated in the referral and/or service authorization.

2.4.4.2 Outcomes for Payment

The final typed report, including the cumulative findings of a vocational assessment, must be submitted no later than 10 working days after the assessment ends.

It must contain specific information in behavioral terms and must stress vocational implications of relevant factors outlined below:

The typed report must contain the original handwritten signature of the Vocational Evaluator who conducted the assessment.

2.4.4.3 Fee

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.4.5 Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation

2.4.5.1 Service Definition

Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation is a process lasting a minimum of eight working days as testing and work assignments are completed to appraise an individual's work-related characteristics important for education and training to obtain and maintain employment.

All Comprehensive Evaluations require situational assessments, which:

The Vocational Evaluator determines the amount of time for the situational assessment. The Comprehensive Vocational Evaluation must contain specific information in behavioral terms and must stress vocational implications of relevant factors, which are outlined below:

  1. Reason for referral, including response to specific questions asked by the referring counselor;
  2. Consumer assets and capabilities;
  3. Disability and limitations (or special considerations);
  4. Physical capacities;
  5. Result of medical examination(s) or related information obtained during evaluation, if appropriate;
  6. Psychosocial traits;
  7. Personal data;
  8. Work history;
  9. Counseling data, including confidential information;
  10. Results of psychological tests;
  11. Results of evaluator findings and observations;
  12. Suitability for competitive or sheltered employment;
  13. Job recommendations related to the current job market (use SOC codes) in the consumer's geographic area;
  14. Specific training possibilities and capabilities;
  15. Specific job modifications; and
  16. Reasons for unemployability.

2.4.5.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Vocational Evaluation must be conducted by the Vocational Evaluator.

All Comprehensive Evaluations require situational assessments. The amount of time for the situational assessment(s) is determined by the Vocational Evaluator.

Elements of the Evaluation include the following:

The final typed report, which is the cumulative findings of the Vocational Evaluation, must be submitted no later than 10 working days after the Evaluation ends.

The typed report must contain the original handwritten signature of the vocational evaluator who conducted the evaluation.

2.4.5.3 Fee

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.5 Work Adjustment Training (WAT)

(Revised 03/09, 05/15)

2.5.1 Service Definition

Work Adjustment Training (WAT) is designed to improve work-related behaviors and enhance interpersonal skills of the consumer while they perform "real" work in a structured environment. Work Adjustment Training is for individuals who have:

Work Adjustment Training must be:

It is recommended that the WAT be increased as appropriate for the consumer, as outlined in the IAP, to 40 hours per week prior to the consumer completing the WAT in order to allow the consumer the opportunity to develop:

Note: DARS sponsorship is limited to 25 hours per week.

The consumer will be paid at a least minimum wage for all hours worked in the WAT unless the Employment Service provider has a Wage Exemption Certificate (WH-228) from the U.S. Department of Labor by the Employment Service Provider. The Employment Service Provider is responsible for keeping an up-to-date Wage Exemption Certificate (WH-228) from the U.S. Department of Labor on file within their DARS contract file, if the Employment Service Provider pays the consumer sub-minimum wage while participating in the WAT.

2.5.2 Staff Qualifications

The Work Adjustment Trainer must have either:

The Work Adjustment Aide must have one year of work experience in vocational areas directly related to Work Adjustment Training. Postsecondary education in a related field may be substituted for actual work experience. The Aide must be able to follow instructions, establish rapport with rehabilitation consumers, and work under supervision.

The CRP director must approve the DARS3455, Community Rehabilitation Program Staff Information form completed by the Work Adjustment Trainer and Work Adjustment Aide.

2.5.3 Work Adjustment Trainer Job Functions

Job functions of the Work Adjustment Trainer include:

2.5.4 Procedures and Process

An Employment Service Provider will receive a Service Authorization for each consumer being referred that identifies the number of hours approved by DARS for the WAT Hours are typically approved per week for a month at a time and will correlate to the Individualized Adjustment Plan (IAP), but DARS does not sponsor more than 25 hours per week.

Services a consumer receives in Work Adjustment Training are defined in an Individualized Adjustment Plan (IAP). The IAP identifies:

The Work Adjustment Trainer-to-consumer ratio must not exceed 1 to 10 without an Aide. An Aide, under the supervision of the Work Adjustment Trainer, may be used when consumers exceed 10 but may not exceed 15. The ratio of aides to the Work Adjustment Trainer must not exceed two to one.

The IAP is developed jointly by the Work Adjustment Trainer and the consumer within the first 10 days of training. The DARS3484, Community Rehabilitation Program Individualized Adjustment Plan is used to record the IAP and the DARS Counselor must approve and sign the IAP prior to authorizing additional WAT services after the 10 days approved for the evaluation and development of the DARS3484.

The DARS3484, Community Rehabilitation Program Individualized Adjustment Plan should be reviewed by the Work Adjustment Trainer, Consumer and DARS Counselor, at least monthly to:

The DARS3484 must be signed by the Work Adjustment Trainer, the consumer, and the DARS Counselor when it is created and updated. Signature by each of these individuals documents understanding and agreement with the goals and objectives established in the IAP.

The DARS3453, Monthly Progress Report—Work/Residential Community Rehabilitation Programs (or equivalent) must be completed at least monthly and document:

The Work Adjustment Trainer should invoice DARS at least monthly. The Work Adjustment Trainer must include an updated DARS3484 and DARS3453 or equivalent with each invoice.

DARS will not pay any fees related to excused or unexcused absences or holidays.

2.5.5 Outcomes for Payment

The Work Adjustment Trainer documents on the DARS3453, Monthly Progress Report—Work/Residential Community Rehabilitation Programs or equivalent in descriptive terms:

The Work Adjustment Trainer documents and/or ensures the DARS3484, Community Rehabilitation Program Individualized Adjustment Plan is completed, up to date and signed by the consumer, the Work Adjustment Trainer and the DARS Counselor.

DARS will pay for each hour worked up to 25 hours per calendar week when invoice is submitted with the DARS3484 and DARS3453 and approved by DARS for payment.

2.5.6 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.6 Personal-Social Adjustment Training (PSAT)

(Revised 05/15)

2.6.1 Service Definition

Personal-Social Adjustment Training (PSAT) is a structured service designed to meet the unique needs of individuals and address a variety of vocational impediments. This service is specifically designed to address work-related behaviors that inhibit the consumer's abilities to successfully maintain employment. The training is customized for each individual and is outlined on the DARS3484, Community Rehabilitation Program Individualized Adjustment Plan.

Examples of curriculum topics addressed in PSAT when a goal exists in the consumer's IAP include:

PSAT can be used to reinforce materials and topics the consumer was trained on when participating in services (such as Work Adjustment Training or Vocational Adjustment Training), but failed to master and requires additional training to overcome the impediment to employment.

All PSAT instructions should be outlined with lesson plan(s). A lesson plan must include:

Note: DARS may request at any time to review the outlines and lessons plans used with consumers.

The number of Personal Social Adjustment Training hours a consumer receives will be based on the measureable goals included in the DARS3484, Community Rehabilitation Program Individualized Adjustment Plan. DARS sponsorship is limited to 15 hours of PSAT per week for all consumers, except for those who are deaf and then DARS sponsorship is limited to 20 hours.

2.6.2 Staff Qualifications

The Personal Social Adjustment Trainer must have:

The Personal-Social Adjustment Aide must have one year of work experience in vocational areas directly related to Personal-Social Adjustment Training. Postsecondary education in a related field may be substituted for actual work experience. The Personal-Social Adjustment Aide must work under the supervision of the Personal Social Adjustment Trainer.

The Personal Social Adjustment Trainer or Aide providing services to consumers who are deaf must demonstrate proficiency of sign language skills through evidence of either a Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) certification, a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) certification, or a Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) rating of "intermediate plus".

The CRP Director must approve the DARS3455, Community Rehabilitation Program Staff Information form completed by the Personal Adjustment Trainer and Aide.

2.6.3 Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer Job Functions

Job functions of the Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer include:

2.6.4 Procedures and Process

An Employment Service Provider will receive a Service Authorization for each consumer being referred that identifies the number of hours approved by DARS for the Personal Social Adjustment Training.  Hours are typically approved per week for a month at a time and will correlate to the Individualized Adjustment Plan (IAP), but DARS does not sponsor more than 15 hours per week for all consumers, except for consumers who are deaf then DARS does not sponsor more than 20 hours per week.

Services a consumer receives in Personal Social Adjustment Training are defined in an Individualized Adjustment Plan (IAP).  The IAP identifies:

The Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer-to-consumer ratio must not exceed 1 to 6 without an Aide. An Aide, under the supervision of the Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer, may be used when consumers exceed 6 but may not exceed 12.

The IAP is developed jointly by the Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer and the consumer within the first 10 days of training. The DARS3484, Community Rehabilitation Program Individualized Adjustment Plan is used to record the IAP and the DARS Counselor must approve the IAP prior to authorizing additional PSAT services after the 10 days approved for the evaluation and development of the DARS3484.

The DARS3484, Community Rehabilitation Program Individualized Adjustment Plan should be reviewed by the Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer, Consumer and DARS Counselor, at least monthly to evaluate the consumer's progress toward their goals and determine if the IAP needs to be updated prior to a Service Authorization being issued to approve additional hours.

The DARS3484 must be signed by the Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer, the consumer, and the DARS Counselor when it is created and updated. Signatures from each of these individuals document understanding of and agreement with the goals and objectives established in the IAP.

The DARS3453, Monthly Progress Report—Work/Residential Community Rehabilitation Programs (or equivalent) must be completed at least monthly and document:

Staffing with the PSAT Trainer, DARS Counselor and as appropriate the consumer, each month prior to payment of invoices is required. Staffing can be held by phone conference or in person.

The Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer should invoice DARS at least monthly. The Personal-Social Adjustment Trainer must include an updated DARS3484 and DARS3453 or equivalent with the invoice.

DARS will not pay any fees related to excused or unexcused absences or holidays.

2.6.5 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.7 Work Experience

(Revised 12/08, 05/15)

2.7.1 Service Overview

The goal of work experience is to provide consumers with experience in a "real people doing real work" environment involving industries that are consistent with the consumer's:

Work experience is an important resource to include in a consumer’s résumé when he or she is ready to pursue competitive, integrated long-term employment or for students who may be exploring options and seeking skills for employment. DARS consumers will be placed at businesses or agencies within the community to complete short-term work experiences.

The purpose of the work experience is to help the consumer understand work culture, work expectations, and skills (soft and hard) associated with the vocational industry of the specific work experience. Consumers should have the opportunity to

The work experience site will mentor the consumers in developing essential job skills and give them insight into the nature of employment. As determined necessary and appropriate by the counselor, Work Experience Monitoring and Work Experience Training and Coaching can be purchased to supplement the training provided by the business.

State and local government agencies and non-profit organizations can generally use interns or volunteers without an obligation to pay them under the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). It is important, though, that the volunteers understand they will not to be paid for their time. It is the responsibility of each business to determine whether an internship should be paid or unpaid based on labor laws. A consumer can be paid while participating in a Work Experience Placement, but the placement must be temporary or short-term, with the purpose being to gain experience, not permanent long-term placement.

For information on Volunteering and the Federal Labor Law see this link:
http://www.dol.gov/elaws/esa/flsa/docs/volunteers.asp

For information on Internship and Federal Labor Act see this link:
http://www.dol.gov/whd/regs/compliance/whdfs71.pdf

DARS is unable to directly reimburse or pay any business for consumer wages.

Each work experience(s) may not be more than 12 weeks. If it is necessary for a consumer to participate in a work experience for longer than 12 weeks to meet the consumer’s needs, area manager approval is required. Multiple work experiences are allowed if they are necessary to meet the consumer’s goals.

Work Experience Services may be provided to consumers who are in the following DARS status:

Note: Work Experience cannot be provided when a consumer is receiving Work Adjustment Training or Job Placement services including Supported Employment.

2.7.2 Work Experience Roles and Responsibilities

Consumer’s Responsibility

The consumer’s responsibilities are as follows:

Work Experience Specialist Responsibility

The work experience specialist’s responsibilities are as follows:

Work Experience Site’s Responsibility

The responsibilities of the supervisor and/or manager at the work experience site are as follows:

2.7.3 Staff Qualifications

The work experience specialist must meet the qualifications of a job placement specialist.

The work experience trainer (coach) must meet the qualification of a job skills trainer (job coach).

2.7.4 Procedure and Process

Each service within work experience can be purchased separately; however, Work Experience Monitoring and Work Experience Training and Coaching should not be purchased simultaneously. In some cases, consumers may gain the work experience on their own, with assistance from a teacher, friends, family, or DARS staff members, while others need assistance in gaining the work experience placement from a provider. Even though the work experience placement has been secured, a consumer may need a provider to provide work experience monitoring to assist with disability education and/or awareness, accommodations, communication, or other coordination to ensure the consumer benefits from the work experience.

When the consumer gains a work experience on their own, with assistance from a teacher, friends, family, or DARS staff members, the DARS counselor must complete the DARS1634, Work Experience Plan and attach it to the referral for Work Experience Monitoring or Work Experience Training of Coaching.

Other consumers may need Work Experience Training (coaching) to assist with on-going training and supervision so that the consumer can meet the expectation of the work experience site. The DARS1633, Work Experience—Referral, or the DARS1636, Work Experience Training/Coaching Referral, and DARS service authorization (SA) and/or purchase order (PO) will indicate what services are being purchased for each individual consumer.

Participation in the work experience should provide the consumer the opportunity to:

2.7.5 Work Experience Placement

2.7.5.1 Service Definition

The provider’s goal is to secure a work experience position that meets all criteria on the DARS1634, Work Experience Plan, for the DARS consumer. Once the work experience position is established, the work experience specialist will complete a work experience analysis, make recommendations for accommodations or supports the consumer needs, and educate the work experience site employees regarding any disability-related issues.

The work experience specialist accompanies the consumer to the work experience site on the first day(s) of the work experience to ensure that the consumer and work experience site have the supports necessary to foster the consumer's success. The goal is for the consumer to participate in the work experience in the least restrictive way, with the work experience site mentoring the consumer in developing essential hard and soft job skills and gaining insight into employment. The work experience placement can be volunteer position, an internship position, or temporary, short-term paid work.

If a consumer is hired into a permanent employment by the Work Experience Placement Site during or after the Work Experience DARS will not pay any provider for the Job Placement Services including Supported Employment. Job Skills Training can be purchase when the consumer begins the permanent employment placement if necessary.

2.7.5.2 Outcomes for Payment

The provider secures a work experience position that meets the criteria on the consumer’s DARS1634. While securing a work experience for the consumer, the provider will assist the consumer with:

The provider will complete the Work Experience Skills, Tasks and Responsibilities section, Work Experience Conditions section, and Steps Taken to Secure Work Experience Sites on the DAR1634.

The following criteria must be achieved on the DARS1634:

Once the work experience has been gained, the Work Experience Specialist will provided initial assistance, training, or supports, as needed by the consumer, for the first week of the experience and document that assistance on the DARS1635, Work Experience Report. A minimum of one face-to-face meeting between the Work Experience Site Supervisor and the Work Experience Specialist is required. The initial assistance, training, or supports the Work Experience Specialist will provide includes:

2.7.5.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.7.6 Work Experience Monitoring

2.7.6.1 Service Definition

The goal is for the provider to monitor and assist the consumer in maintaining the work experience position. The Work Experience Specialist will:

The goal is for the consumer to participate in the work experience in the least restrictive way, with the work experience site mentoring the consumer in developing essential hard and soft job skills and gaining insight into employment.

2.7.6.2 Outcomes for Payment

Once the work experience has been secured, the Work Experience Specialist provides for each month a service authorization and/or purchase order issued for work experience monitoring listing assistance, training, or supports, as needed by the consumer.

All monitoring visits and contact and assistance, training, or supports provided by the Work Experience Specialist between the start date and end date of the monthly monitoring must be documented on the DARS1635, Work Experience Report.

A minimum of one face-to-face meeting with the consumer and Work Experience Site Supervisor is required. The Work Experience Specialist

Assistance, training, or support provided by the Work Experience Specialist includes, but are not limited to, the following:

2.7.6.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.7.7 Work Experience Training and Coaching

2.7.7.1 Service Definition

Work Experience Training and Coaching services are provided to consumers who have gained work experience placement in a volunteer, internship or temporary-short-term paid work setting that meets the consumer’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) (including Trial Work Plans) goal(s). Work Experience Training and Coaching services are purchased from employment services providers when a consumer needs more training and support than the training and support provided by the work experience site. Work Experience Training and Coaching can be purchased when the consumer, counselor, provider, parent, teacher, or friend secures work experience placement.

The work experience site, the consumer, the DARS counselor, the Work Experience Ppecialist and/or Work Experience Trainer or Coach should be involved in the training plan and in monitoring the consumer’s performance. All services are goal-focused, with the consumer's goals and abilities documented on the DARS1636, Work Experience Training/Coaching Referral and DARS1637, Work Experience Training/Coaching Report.

Training provided by Work Experience Trainer or Coach can include:

The DARS counselor completes the DARS1636, Work Experience Training and Coaching—Referral, identifying which goals from the menu of goals on the form the work experience training and coaching will address with the consumer, and then submits the DARS1636 to the provider.

DARS issues a service authorization (SA) and/or purchase order (PO) for the number of approved hours of Work Experience Training and Coaching to the provider and sends the SA with the DARS1636. The DARS counselor negotiates a fee for Work Experience Training and Coaching. Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.7.7.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Work Experience Trainer/Coach will:

Using the DARS1637, Work Experience Training and Coaching Report, the Work Experience Trainer/Coach documents in descriptive terms the following:

Each Progress Note entry must include:

The Work Experience Training and Coaching provided and documented on the DARS1637 must be related to the goal(s) approved by the DARS counselor on the DARS1636, Work Experience Training and Coaching Referral and service authorization and/or purchase order. The provider must submit a complete and accurate DARS1637 with the invoice. Once the form and invoice have been approved, the invoice is paid. The provider is paid for all hours of Work Experience Training and Coaching documented on the DARS1637, when approved by the DARS counselor.

2.7.7.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.8 Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) for Work Readiness

2.8.1 Service Description

Vocational Adjustment Training (VAT) for Work Readiness includes services to help a consumer learn and adjust to the daily workplace routine. The services allow a consumer to develop the competencies and essential skills necessary to function successfully on the job and in the community. Work Readiness prepares consumers for successful employment so they can be as self-sufficient as possible. It is the intent of Work Readiness services to meet the needs of each consumer and help address or manage vocational impediments.

Use Work Readiness Services when a consumer needs more assistance than the DARS staff can provide to complete specific tasks and/or gain specific skills before the consumer begins his or her job search. Typically, each Work Readiness Service is purchased only once per consumer. However, on rare occasions, Work Readiness Services may be purchased more than once to help ensure that the consumer has the training and supports needed. When this is necessary, complete a DARS 3472, Contract Service Modification form; refer to Chapter 1: Basic Standards, 1.11 Record Keeping/Changes to Services, for details.

For the purposes of these services, students with disabilities aged 22 or younger must be provided services in a training session that does not include adult participants aged 23 or older.

In order to receive payment for any VAT Work Readiness services provided, the consumer must attend the required minimum hours of training. Payment will not be made if the consumer’s absence results in him or her not attending the minimum number of required training hours.

Journaling Activities and Extended Activities are required in the curriculum of each of the Vocational Adjustment Services.

Journaling activities offer a way to incorporate personal reflection using an individualized means of expression such as:

Journal topics should be provided to the consumer related to each module. The purpose of the journaling topic is to allow the consumer to gain insight into his or her thoughts, feelings, and opinions about the content taught and to identify skills that may further improve his or her success. Consumers should be encouraged to share their journaling with the Vocational Adjustment Trainer but are not required to do so. Below are examples of journaling prompts that could be used:

Extension activities offer ways for the facilitator to continue and/or reinforce topics and skills learned in the core activities required within each module. Extension activities include:

Below are details about each VAT Work Readiness Service.

2.8.2 Staff Qualifications

Until August 31, 2016, a Vocational Adjustment Trainer's qualification can be:

On September 1, 2016, the qualifications for all Vocational Adjustment Trainers will be:

From May 1, 2016 through August 31, 2016, a Vocational Adjustment Trainer may conduct Vocational Adjustment Training services with either set of qualifications outline above.

Vocational Adjustment Trainers who provide services to consumers who are deaf must demonstrate proficiency of sign language skills through evidence of holding either a Board for Evaluation of Interpreters (BEI) certification, a Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf (RID) certification, or a Sign Language Proficiency Interview (SLPI) rating of "intermediate plus."

A DARS3455 must be on file with DARS for each Vocational Adjustment Trainer who facilitates Vocational Adjustment Training documenting the trainer meets or exceeds the qualifications stated above. The CRP director must approve the DARS3455, Employment Services Provider Application Staff Information, form completed by the Vocational Adjustment Trainer.

2.8.3 Procedure-Process Steps

The counselor completes the DARS3121, VAT-Work Readiness Services Referral, and submits it to the provider. The referral form includes documentation that will prepare the Vocational Adjustment Trainer to work with the consumer (for example, medical or psychological reports, case notes, vocational testing, or employment data collected by DARS). The referral form will indicate what VAT-Work Readiness service(s) will be purchased for the consumer and all special directions related to the delivery of the service(s). If the Deaf Premium Service is necessary, it will be included on the referral form and a service authorization must be issued prior to any service being provided. Refer to 8.4 Employment Premium Services for additional information.

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer provides instruction, guidance and monitoring necessary for the consumer to participate in discussions, complete the activities and benefit from the training curriculum outlined in the service definition/scope for the specific service. The Vocational Adjustment Trainer creates and provides:

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must maintain attendance records for all classes. DARS staff members must have access to these records upon request.

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer completes and submits the required DARS forms for the specific VAT Work Readiness Training(s) provided. The report must contain clear, descriptive documentation describing:

DARS staff members will review the submitted forms and the invoice to ensure completeness, accuracy, and that the required outcomes have been achieved. The form(s) and the invoice will be returned to the provider if incomplete. DARS will provide notification of issues related to the incomplete form(s) and/or invoice. The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must resubmit the corrected forms and invoice, which must be approved by DARS to receive payment for the invoice.

If the Deaf Premium Service was authorized, the invoice will be paid after the DARS form(s) for the specific VAT Work Readiness Training is approved. Refer to 8.4 Employment Premium Services for additional information.

2.8.4 Exploring the "You" in Work

2.8.4.1 Service Definition

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer will use a curriculum to help a consumer to learn about understanding their own work personalities, interests, values, and transferable skills. The training curriculum activities allow the consumer to:

The Exploring the “You” in Work curriculum will be developed by the Vocational Adjustment Trainer using instructional approaches such as:

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must provide all supplies and resources necessary to facilitate the curriculum. The curriculum can be provided individually or to groups of no more than six participants to one Vocational Adjustment Trainer. Instructors must be able to adapt activities to meet individual needs including but not limited to literacy and disability for each class and participant. The facilitated curriculum must include the four modules, a minimum of one extension activity, and journaling topics throughout the training. Total service provided must include a minimum of 10 hours of training on curriculum topics.

The Exploring the "You" in Work curriculum must be available for review by DARS staff members upon request, and must at a minimum address the following topics:

Topic

Topic Description

Work Personality

Consumers are able to identify their basic work personality and demonstrate an understanding of how this affects their employment.

Work Interests

Consumers are able to identify their work interests and demonstrate an understanding of how this affects their employment.

Work Values

Consumers are able to identify their work values and demonstrate an understanding of how this affects their employment.

Identification of Transferable Skills

Consumers are able to identify their transferable skills and demonstrate an understanding of how transferable skills affect their employment.

Journaling activities and one extension activity are required. Refer to 2.8.1 Service Description for description of these activities. Suggested extension activities include a manager or a supervisor as a guest speaker, employer panel with questions and answers, and videos of good and bad job behaviors.

2.8.4.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer documents in descriptive terms all information required by the Service Description and Scope and DARS3122, Explore the “You” in Work Training, including:

2.8.4.3 Training Resources

As part of providing this training, Vocational Adjustment Trainers may want to refer to the following free public domain tools:

2.8.4.4 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.8.5 Soft Skills for Work Success

2.8.5.1 Service Definition

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer uses a curriculum that addresses the skills needed to understand and demonstrate the soft skills that enable one to be successful at work. The training focuses on developing essential skills related to

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer will develop the Soft Skills for Work Success curriculum using such instructional approaches as

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must provide all supplies and resources necessary to facilitate the curriculum. The curriculum may be provided individually or with groups of participants with a ratio of one Vocational Adjustment Trainer to six participants. Instructors must to able to adapt activities to meet individual needs including but not limited to literacy and disability for each class and participant. The facilitated curriculum must include the four modules, a minimum of one extension activity, and journaling topics throughout the training. Total service provided must include a minimum of 15 hours.

The Soft Skills for Work Success curriculum must be available for review by DARS staff members upon request and must at a minimum address the following topics:

Interpersonal Communication

  • Effective listening
  • Following and giving instructions and feedback
  • Conflict resolution
  • Non-verbal communication
  • Speaking and appropriate language used in the workplace
  • Cooperating/working as a team member
  • Providing good customer service
  • Dealing with different personality styles
  • Dealing with questions about one’s disability with co-workers
  • Do’s and don’ts related to behaviors in the work place
  • Communicating issues, concerns with employer and/or supervisor

Work Habits and Conduct

  • Work dress and personal presentation (includes grooming and hygiene)
  • Time management
  • Professionalism
  • Balancing work and home life
  • Concepts related to effective time scheduling
  • Importance of punctuality and attendance
  • Workplace behaviors and attitudes

Work Ethic

  • Characteristics of a good work ethic
  • How to create and improve a good work ethic
  • What unethical behavior is in the workplace
  • Characteristics of a negative work ethic

Problem Solving and Decision Making

  • Steps in the problem solving process: define the problem, gather facts, generate alternative options, evaluate and implement the most appropriate option and monitor solutions re-evaluating as necessary
  • Steps in decision making process: identify the goal, gather information for weighing options, consider consequences, evaluate decision(s)
  • Problem solving, critical thinking, and decision making related to work related assignments and barriers

Journaling activities and one extension activity are required. Refer to section 2.8.1 Service Description for description of these activities. Suggested extension activities include: manager or supervisor as a guest speaker, employer panel with questions and answers, and videos of good and bad job behaviors.

Because these soft skills curricula cover the same or similar skills, only one of the following VAT Work Readiness services can be purchased for a consumer from the time the consumer applies for services until the consumer’s case is closed:

Vocational Adjustment Trainers may refer to the Texas Workforce Commission curriculum, “Succeed at Work,” for class materials. This is available online through Texas Work Prep at https://www.texasworkprep.com/saw.htm and in paper format at http://www.lmci.state.tx.us/shared/succeedatwork.asp.

2.8.5.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer documents in descriptive terms all information required by the Service Description and Scope and DARS3123, Soft Skills for Work Success including:

2.8.5.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.8.6 Soft Skills to Pay the Bills—Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success

2.8.6.1 Service Description

Skills to Pay the Bills: Mastering Soft Skills for Workplace Success is a curriculum developed by the Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), which focuses on teaching "soft," or workforce readiness, skills to youth, including youth with disabilities. The curriculum was created to introduce youth to the workplace interpersonal and professional skills that focus on six key skill areas

The curriculum contains 30 core activities designed to get young people thinking about, practicing, and discussing skills important for career and personal success—soft skills. The curriculum is found at http://www.dol.gov/odep/topics/youth/softskills/softskills.pdf.

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer facilitates all 30 activities using instructional approaches such as

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must provide all supplies and resources necessary to facilitate the curriculum. The curriculum may be provided in a individual setting or in a group setting with a maximum of six participants for each Vocational Adjustment Trainer. Instructors must adapt activities to meet the needs of each class and participant. The facilitated curriculum must include the 30 core exercises, a minimum of four extension activities and journaling topics throughout the training. The entire training must be at least 20 hours per consumer.

Below is a list of required activities.

Communication

  1. What’s Your Point?
  2. Flipping the Switch
  3. Oh, Puh-leeeeeze
  4. Listen Hear!!
  5. Quit Talkin’! I Know What To Do!

Enthusiasm and Attitude

  1. Never Underestimate the Power of a PMA (Positive Mental Attitude)
  2. Life is Full of Hard Knocks
  3. A Super Ball and a Raw Egg
  4. Believe it or Not: Your Attitude and Enthusiasm Just Might Get You the Job
  5. Translating Features to Benefits

Teamwork

  1. There is no "I" in Team
  2. I’ll Give You Some of Mine if You Give Me Some of Yours
  3. The Good, the Bad, and the Reasonable
  4. How Many Shapes Does it Take?
  5. Teamwork on the Job

Networking

  1. An Introduction to Networking
  2. You Expect me to do WHAT? Talk to People.
  3. Using Social Media to Network
  4. Text vs. Email: Does it Really Matter?
  5. It’s a Small World

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

  1. Praise, Criticism, or Feedback?
  2. Workplace Ethics
  3. Problem Solving on a Team
  4. Perception vs. Reality
  5. Tell Me about a Time When

Professionalism

  1. Professionalism in Today’s Workforce
  2. Professional Work Attitudes
  3. Teamwork: An Essential Element of Professionalism
  4. Is it Considered “Professional” to Have Friends in the Workplace?
  5. Self-reflection: Professional Problem Solving at its Best

Journaling activities and four extension activities are required. Refer to 2.8.1 Service Description for description of these activities. Suggested extension activities include a manager or a supervisor as a guest speaker, employer panel with questions and answers, and videos of good and bad job behaviors.

Because these soft skills curricula cover the same or similar skills, only one of the following VAT Work Readiness services can be purchased for a consumer:

2.8.6.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer documents in descriptive terms all information required by the Service Description and DARS3124, Soft Skills to Pay the Bills, including:

2.8.6.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.8.7 Entering the World of Work

2.8.7.1 Service Definition

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer will use a curriculum to allow a consumer to gain knowledge and skills related to work place expectations, rules, and laws.

The training will focus on developing essential skills. The Vocational Adjustment Trainer develops the Entering the World of Work curriculum by using instructional approaches such as

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must provide all supplies and resources necessary to facilitate the curriculum. The curriculum can be provided individually or provided to groups of participants with a maximum of six participants to one Vocational Adjustment Trainer. Instructors must adapt activities to meet individual needs including but not limited to literacy and disability for each class and participant. The facilitated curriculum must include the three modules, a minimum of one extension activity, and journaling topics throughout the training. Total service provided must be a minimum of 10 hours.

The Entering the World of Work curriculum must be available for review by DARS staff members upon request and must, at a minimum, address the following topics:

Health and Safety in the Work Setting

  • OSHA
  • Safe working conditions
  • Hazards that can be unsafe work conditions
  • Taking responsibility for your own health and safety
  • Disclosing illness or injuries to your employer
  • Rules about disclosing your disability to an employer
  • Explaining disability support needs in terms employers understand
  • Employer’s responsibilities and rights to manage workplace risks including the health and safety of employees
  • Employer’s responsibility to provide employees with the information, instruction, and training they need to do their job safely and without damaging their health
  • Harassment
  • Workers' compensation

Work Rules and Expectations

  • Attendance and promptness
  • Use of telephones and electronic devices
  • Confidentiality
  • Drug and alcohol policies for employees
  • Employee identification
  • Workplace privacy
  • Dress codes
  • Breaks and meals
  • Illness
  • Supervisor’s roles
  • Worker rights
  • Employer rights
  • Reasonable accommodations
  • Requesting accommodations from employer

Employer Benefits, Payroll and Paycheck Basics

  • How to complete a W-4
  • How to complete an I-9 and identify the required supporting documentation
  • How to read a pay statement and paycheck
  • Employer handbooks
  • Wage deductions
  • Texas employee rights
  • Types of employer benefits (health, dental, and life insurance, a 401(k) plan, retirement, leave)
  • Time off and leave

Journaling activities and one extension activity are required. Refer to 2.8.1 Service Description for description of these activities. Suggested extension activities include a manager or a supervisor as a guest speaker, employer panel with questions and answers, and videos of good job behaviors.

Vocational Adjustment Trainers may want to refer to the Texas Workforce Commission curriculum, “Succeed at Work,” for class materials. This is available online through Texas Work Prep at https://www.texasworkprep.com/saw.htm and in paper format at http://www.lmci.state.tx.us/shared/succeedatwork.asp.

2.8.7.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer documents in descriptive terms all information required by the Service Description and DARS3125, Entering the World of Work, including:

2.8.7.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.8.8 Preparing for a Job Search Training—For Pre-employment Training Services (Pre-ETS) Consumers Only

Pre-ETS are provided to students with disabilities to expose them to work and work concepts to increase their long-term employability.

2.8.8.1 Service Description

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer will use a curriculum to allow a consumer to gain the skills necessary to obtain employment in entry-level positions. This training focuses on developing the skills essential for preparing for a job search. The Workplace Skills for Success curriculum will be developed by the Vocational Adjustment Trainer using instructional approaches such as:

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must provide all supplies and resources necessary to facilitate the curriculum. The curriculum can be provided to groups of participants with a ratio of one Vocational Adjustment Trainer to six participants. The instructors must adapt activities to meet the needs of each participant and class.

The curriculum must be available for review by DARS staff members, and, at a minimum, must address the following topics:

Topic

Topic Description

Exploring Jobs with the Occupational Outlook Handbook

  • Industries at a glance
  • Occupational finder
  • Occupational facts for career interest(s)
    • Summary
    • What they do and/or career videos
    • Work environment
    • How to become one
    • Pay
    • Job outlook
    • Similar occupations

Collection of consumer’s employment data

Use the DARS1890, Employment Data Sheet, to collect and organize all the information that is required to complete accurate applications, résumés, and references sheets.

Job Applications

  • Overview of the job application process
  • Overview of the application types such as newspapers, websites, and kiosks
  • How to identify appropriate responses to questions on job applications
  • How to write clear descriptive responses to questions
  • How to ensure your job application is free of spelling and grammatical errors
  • Strategies for addressing employment barriers such as gaps in work history; criminal background history, limited work experience, etc.
  • Personality tests
  • Overview of the different types of pre-employment screenings questionnaires and/or testing such as aptitude, skills, literacy, personality, medical, and drug tests as well as background checks to verify work history, criminal background and credentials

Résumés

  • Overview of résumé content detailing a person’s education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments that is used to apply for some jobs
  • Review of the different types of résumés used: chronological, functional, combination, or targeted
  • Creation of a résumé for the consumer’s education, work experience, credentials, and accomplishments

Creating an “elevator” speech

  • Create a 30–60 second speech that summarizes why you are a good job candidate.
    • Who are you?
    • What are your skills, accomplishments, and work experiences?
    • About what are you passionate?
    • What and how do your key strengths bring value to a potential employer?
    • What are you looking for?
    • Why are you the perfect candidate?
  • Practice and make perfect the "elevator" speech.

Interviews

  • Overview of the interview process
  • Overview of the interview types, for example, screening, telephone, panel and/or group, behaviorally based, case, situational and technical
  • How to research businesses and positions
  • How to identify questions to ask the business when interviewing
  • Identification of typical interview questions asked by the business for the industry of the consumer’s employment goal(s) and how to answer them effectively
  • Strategies for answering “tricky” questions to address employment barriers such as gaps in work history, criminal background history, limited work experience, etc.
  • Instruction in personal grooming and presentation, including the body language required for an effective interview
  • Mock interviews to ensure that the consumer can effectively interview after learning the required skills

Written correspondence

  • Overview of written correspondence used with job searching
  • How to create cover letters for applications and résumés
  • How to create thank you letters following correspondence with employers or after meetings or interviews
  • Email: when and how to use written correspondence
  • U.S. Postal Service: when and how to use

References

  • Overview of professional and personal employment references
  • How to make a request for a professional and personal employment reference
  • How to provide professional and personal employment references to potential employers

Journaling activities and four extension activities are required. Refer to 2.8.1 Service Description for description of these activities. Suggested extension activities include a manager or a supervisor as a guest speaker, employer panel with questions and answers, and videos of good and bad job behaviors.

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer facilitates the curriculum using instructional approaches such as:

Trainers can alter and must adapt activities to meet the needs of each class and participant so long as the purpose, goals, and terminology of the activity are met. The Vocational Adjustment Trainer provides all supplies and resources necessary to facilitate the curriculum. Curriculum can be provided in an individual setting or in a group setting with a maximum of six participants to one Vocational Adjustment Trainer. The facilitated curriculum must include the eight modules, a minimum of four extension activities, and journaling topics throughout the training. Total service provided must include a minimum of 20 hours.

A payment reduction will be applied to Bundled Job Placement Services if purchased at a later date for the consumer.

2.8.8.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer documents in descriptive terms all information required by the Service Description and Scope and DARS3126, Preparing for the Job Search Training, including:

2.8.8.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.8.9 Disability Disclosure Training

2.8.9.1 Service Description

This training is not for consumers who are able to complete The 411 on Disability Disclosure Workbook independently. The 411 on Disability Disclosure Workbook curriculum is at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/411-on-disability-disclosure.

This training is workbook-driven and is facilitated and led by the Vocational Adjustment Trainer. The training provides information to consumers to help them in making informed decisions about disclosing their disability, and decisions that will affect their educational, employment, and social lives. This training is not designed to tell the consumer how or when to disclose his or her disability. It helps the consumer make informed decisions about disclosing his or her disability and understand how the decision might affect his or her educational, employment, and social lives. The training includes eight units.

The Vocational Adjustment Trainers are to use the workbook curriculum as the core of the training, adapting it as necessary to make accommodations for a consumer’s disability and learning needs. The trainer must add three additional Extension Activities to the core curriculum to enhance the training outcomes. The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must use the 411 on Disability Disclosure workbook curriculum found at http://www.ncwd-youth.info/411-on-disability-disclosure.

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must facilitate all 21 activities, using instructional approaches such as:

Trainers may alter and adapt activities to meet the needs of each class and participant so long as the purpose, goals, and terminology of the activities in the 411 on Disability Disclosure workbook are met. The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must provide all supplies and resources necessary to facilitate the curriculum. The curriculum can be provided to groups of participants with a maximum of six participants to one Vocational Adjustment Trainer. The facilitated curriculum must include the core 21 exercises, three extension activities, and journaling topics throughout the training. The entire training must be at least 20 hours per consumer.

Below is a list of required activities.

Unit 1 Self-Determination—the BIG Picture (Introduction to the process and value of self-determination)

  1. Just What do you Know About Yourself and Your Disability?
  2. Self-Determined Short-Term Goals

Unit 2 Disclosure—What Is It and Why Is It So Important? (Introduction to the concepts of disclosure)

  1. Describing Your Disability, Disability Needs and Skills/Abilities.

Unit 3 Weighing the Advantages and Disadvantages of Disclosure

  1. Employment Scenario
  2. Postsecondary Education Scenario
  3. Social Setting Scenario
  4. Famous People Matching

Unit 4 Rights and Responsibilities under the Law
(Overview of the system and protective laws as one leaves high school and enters the adult world, and basic overview of the Americans with Disabilities Act and how it pertains to a person with a disability)

  1. Defining Your Disability
  2. Recognizing Discrimination
  3. Collage Activity
  4. Identifying Adult Service Providers and Eligibility Criteria

Unit 5 Accommodations
(Introduction to the concept of accommodations and to the identification of the accommodations one might need)

  1. Job Accommodation Network (JAN)
  2. Situations and Solutions at School and Work

Unit 6 Postsecondary Disclosure: Why, When, What, to Whom, and How?
(Overview of the need to disclose in order to receive reasonable accommodations in college, at a university, in a career and technical school, or in an adult education center)

  1. Course for Disclosure Examples
  2. Exploring Disability Support Services
  3. My Practice Script

Unit 7 Disclosure on the Job: Why, When, What, to Whom, and How?
(Overview of the need to disclose in order to receive a reasonable accommodation in a work setting)

  1. Course for the Disclosure Examples
  2. My Practice Script
  3. Visit Your Local One-Stop Career Center

Unit 8 Disclosure in Social and Community Setting: Why, When, What, to Whom, and How?
(Explores the need and the circumstances that surround the consumer’s disclosing his or her disability to community members and friends in social situations)

  1. Course for the Disclosure Examples
  2. My Practice Script

Journaling activities and one extension activity are required. Refer to 2.8.1 Service Description for description of these activities. Suggested extension activities include practice disclosure with a stranger and a mock interview with disclosure questions

2.8.9.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer documents in descriptive terms all information required by the Service Description and Scope and DARS3132, Disability Disclosure Training, including:

2.8.9.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.8.10 Money Smart—A Financial Education Training

Service Description

This training is not for consumers who can benefit from the self-paced interactive Computer Based Instruction (CBI) version of Money Smart, which contains the same ten modules as the original Money Smart, and is available in both English and Spanish.

A consumer attending the Vocational Adjustment Trainer-led Money Smart—A Financial Education Training needs to be able to read at the sixth grade level with or without accommodations.

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer uses the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Money Smart—A Financial Education Program curriculum to teach consumers the basics of handling their money and finances, including how to create positive relationships with financial institutions. Equipping young people in their formative years with the basics of financial education can give them the knowledge, skills, and confidence they need to manage their finances.

The Money Smart for Adults instructor-led curriculum consists of 11 training modules that cover basic financial topics. DARS has added two modules from the Youth Money Smart—A Financial Education Program curriculum for a total of 13 modules. The facilitated curriculum must include the core 14 modules, one extension activity, and journaling topics throughout the training. The entire training must be at least 30 hours per consumer. Training can be held individually or in a group setting with a maximum of six participants to one Vocational Adjustment Trainer. The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must provide all supplies and resources necessary to facilitate the curriculum.

The 13 Money Smart Training Modules that DARS uses are:

Bank on It
an introduction to bank services

Borrowing Basics
an introduction to credit

Check It Out
how to choose and keep a checking account

Money Matters
how to keep track of your money

Pay Yourself First
why you should save, save, save

Financial Recovery
how to recover financially and rebuild your credit after a financial-setback

Keep It Safe
your rights as a consumer

To Your Credit
how your credit history will affect your credit future

Charge It Right
how to make a credit card work for you

Paying for College and Cars*
installment loans (such as car and student)

Loan To Own
know what you're borrowing before you buy

A Roof Over Your Head*
informed decisions on apartments and mortgages

Your Own Home
what home ownership is all about

*Indicates that DARS added the module to the training. These modules are from the adult Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) Money Smart—A Financial Education Program curriculum. These units are from another version of the Money Smart—A Financial Education Program curriculum.

For information on how to get the free Money Smart—A Financial Education Program curriculum, go to: https://www.fdic.gov/consumers/consumer/moneysmart/young.html. The FDIC curriculum contains unbiased information that is not identified with corporate logos or otherwise affiliated with any commercial interest. This curriculum is not protected by copyright restrictions; everyone may use it.

Journaling activities and one extension activity are required. Refer to 2.8.1 Service Description for description of these activities. Suggested extension activities include:

2.8.10.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer documents in descriptive terms all information required by the Service Description and DARS3133, Money Smart—A Financial Education Training, including:

2.8.10.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.8.11 Public Transportation Training

Service Description

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer will use a curriculum to allow a consumer to gain basic travel skills. This training focuses on developing the skills essential for travel in the consumer’s community using public transportation. The goal of the service is for the consumer to be able to use his or her chosen mode of public transportation to travel to one or more locations within the community including but not limited to school, work sites, and an independent living center.

The Public Transportation Training curriculum will be developed by the Vocational Adjustment Trainer using instructional approaches such as:

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer must provide all supplies and resources necessary to facilitate the curriculum. The Public Transportation Training Curriculum can be provided individually or in a group setting depending on the consumer’s individualized needs. The participant to trainer ratio cannot be greater than four participants to one Vocational Adjustment Trainer. Instructors must adapt activities to meet the needs of each class and participant. In addition to the core curriculum, one extension activity and journaling topics must be included throughout the training. The curriculum must be available for review by DARS staff members and at a minimum must address the following topics:

The curriculum must include, but is not limited to:

Journaling activities and one extension activity are required. Refer to 2.8.1 Service Description for descriptions of these activities. Suggested extension activities include:

Check with your local transportation authorities for training manuals, curricula, and resources available to the public.

2.8.11.2 Outcomes for Payment

The Vocational Adjustment Trainer documents in descriptive terms all information required by the Service Description and Scope and DARS3134, Vocation Adjustment Training (VAT) Public Transportation Training, including:

2.8.11.3 Fees

Refer to 2.1 Fees.

2.9 Environmental Work Assessment (EWA)

(Added 08/15)

2.9.1 Key Terms

Refer to 2.2 Key Terms.

2.9.2 Service Overview

Individuals with developmental disorders (DD) can be strongly affected by their environments. Many consumers with a DD have varying levels of abilities that are dependent on environment variables (such as a slow versus a fast work pace, loud versus quiet surroundings, outdoors versus indoors). The EWA focuses on the consumer’s responses to the variables in a work environment rather than on how the consumer performs the job.

The results of this assessment identify variables that affect the consumer’s ability to function at his or her full potential. When determining the most appropriate work environment for the consumer, you must consider the environmental conditions to which the consumer responds most favorably. For example, consider whether a loud, busy environment reduces the consumer's ability to follow directions or whether a job outdoors that requires heavy lifting improves the consumer’s ability to focus.

2.9.3 Staff Qualifications

Any staff person conducting an Environmental Work Assessment must have a current Autism Endorsement from the University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Sustainable Employment (UNTWISE).

The Autism Endorsement is obtained by:

Note that Environmental Work Assessments must be listed in the provider's bilateral contract prior to conducting an assessment.

2.9.4 Procedures and Process

DARS counselors will make a referral to the provider using DARS1876, Environmental Work Assessment (EWA) Referral, for a consumer who has:

Note: Not every consumer with a developmental disorder will need or benefit from an EWA. The counselor determines the referral. However, if after reviewing the referral, you question the benefits of an EWA for the consumer, contact the counselor.

Billable time spent with the consumer may include a combination of the following:

The EWA is not a Vocational Evaluation or a replacement for a Supported Employment Assessment. EWA also cannot be used in place of planned trial work experience, but may be used as an assessment.

2.9.5 Service Description

The EWA is a diagnostic tool. It can be used for:

The Autism Specialization Provider is required to:

  1. assess the skills portion of the EWA in a work environment;
  2. assess three environments;
  3. ensure that the three environments are developed with the consumer's interests in mind;
  4. spend at least two hours per environment;
  5. review the results in person with the counselor and consumer; and
  6. review the results and determine the next steps.

Exceptions to the Six Provider Requirements Above

  1. Assessing three environments:
    An environment can be used twice if changing the day or time would significantly alter the environmental variables. For example, a grocery store on a Saturday at 1 p.m. is a significantly different environment from the same grocery store on a Sunday at 11 p.m.
  2. Spending at least two hours per environment:
    A site can be assessed over time. For example, a consumer can go to an environment for one hour on one day, and go to the same environment for the second hour on another day.
  3. Reviewing the results in person:
    If meeting with the consumer is not possible, the counselor must approve meeting in another manner, such as a conference call. The approval must be written and kept in both the provider's and the consumer's case file.

Conducting an Assessment in an Environment Other than the Intended Place of Business

The intended work environment is always the best place to conduct an assessment. However, if the assessment is conducted in another environment that can accurately mimic the intended work environment, then it is acceptable. For example, if the intended work environment is loud, busy, and bright, then the environment in which the assessment is conducted must mimic those variables in order for the assessment to be valid.

2.9.6 Outcomes for Payment

The Autism Specialization Provider is required to:

The Autism Specialization Provider must submit the following DARS forms:

The forms must be completed accurately and sent to the counselor for approval prior to payment of an invoice.

2.9.7 Fee

Refer to 2.1 Fees.