Vocational Rehabilitation Strategic Goals

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A World of Inclusive Work

A guide to Division of Vocational Rehabilitation's strategic plan for the 2023-2025 planning cycle. 

From connecting students with disabilities to work possibilities to reducing poverty through living wage careers for adults with disabilities, the world of inclusive work in Washington state is bright.

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DVR's 2023 - 2025 Strategic Plan 

In the strategic planning process, we identify three key components.

  1. The Strategic Objective: Sets the goal that we are striving to achieve.
  2. The Action Plan: Our action steps to get there.
  3. The Success Measure: The outcome that would let us know we have achieved that goal by 2025.

Read in detail below about all of the components of DVR's strategic plan. 

Strategic plan index: Jump to a section of the plan by clicking the Strategic Objective (SO)

  1. SO #1: Improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.
  2. SO #2: Ensure successful transitions into the workforce for students with disabilities.
  3. SO #3: Reduce poverty in the disability community in coordination with DSHS agency and workforce development partners.
  4. SO #4: Increase customer satisfaction with DVR services by addressing customer and stakeholder concerns about service timeliness and quality and incorporating ideas for improvement.
  5. SO #5: Promote equity, diversity, access and inclusion in the workplace by hiring and retaining a diverse workforce that is inclusive of people with disabilities and representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of the state.
  6. SO #6: Create and foster organizational culture that promotes employee engagement and belonging.
  7. SO #7: Identify service delivery improvements for individuals who identify as Native American or Alaska Native.
  8. SO #8: Emergency Management Services: Prepare staff to respond to emergencies and workplace hazards to ensure that employees and visitors remain safe and secure and business operations are maintained and can recover quickly.
  9. SO #9: Modernize infrastructure and applications using a Cloud Smart approach that aligns with DVR’s strategic plan and technology roadmap, as well as DSHS' and state enterprise IT strategy.

Strategic Objective #1: Improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

The Action Plan:

  • Identify career pathways and increase customer participation in post-secondary training that leads to employment in their field of study.
  • Develop effective job search, job placement and other services that are readily available to all customers when they are job ready.
  • Provide training through the VR Institute, regional trainer team and new counselor cohort program to ensure that staff have the knowledge and skills needed to equitably deliver high-quality vocational rehabilitation services to customers with diverse needs, abilities and interests.
  • Modernize the case management system to improve the effectiveness of service delivery and capability to assess program effectiveness and continuous improvement.
  • Develop and implement an outreach plan targeting underrepresented populations in local communities to increase awareness of DVR services.
  • Develop statewide expectations, outcomes, and staff roles and responsibilities for business engagement activities to expand employment opportunities and job placements for individuals with disabilities.
  • Increase coordination and collaboration with DSHS agencies, workforce development and community partners to develop integrated service delivery models and expand access to the services and supports customers need for job success.
  • Provide access to Foundational Community Supports by implementing an interlocal agreement with the Health Care Authority’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery.

Success Measure:

Increase the percent of DVR participants who achieve successful employment outcomes from 56% to 60% by June 2025.

Strategic Objective #2: Ensure successful transitions into the workforce for students with disabilities.

The Action Plan:

  • Expand the scope and availability of pre-employment transition services through new and extended contracts with Washington’s community rehabilitation programs, Workforce Development Councils, community and technical colleges and educational service districts. Emphasize work-based learning experiences and work-based readiness training.
  • Lead collaboration with individual school districts to identify service gaps and establish a seamless continuum of services for students with disabilities throughout Washington. 
  • Strengthen DVR knowledge and application of transition planning and practices that support positive post-secondary outcomes for youth.

Success Measure:

Attain a 70% rate of entering post-secondary education or employment within one year of exiting secondary education for students with disabilities who are DVR customers.

Strategic Objective #3: Reduce poverty in the disability community in coordination with DSHS agency and workforce development partners.

The Action Plan:

  • Increase the rate of customers with job goals leading to self-sufficiency, using the following strategies: identify career pathways and increase customer participation in post-secondary training that leads to employment in their field of study; educate customers about well-paying career options and encourage participation in educational and workforce training programs that prepare job-seekers for careers that pay a living wage; ensure that customers are well-informed of pay scales of occupational options and the match to their desired standard of living.
  • Collaborate with Community Rehabilitation Programs on contract changes that incentivize higher-quality outcomes based on established outcome measures.
  • Develop effective job search, job placement and other services that are readily available to all customers when they are job ready.
  • Increase coordination and collaboration with DSHS agency, workforce development and community partners to develop integrated service delivery models and expand access to the services and supports customers need for job success. 
  • Provide access to Foundational Community Supports by implementing an interlocal agreement with the Health Care Authority’s Division of Behavioral Health and Recovery.
  • Ensure that benefits planning is offered to all customers who are eligible. 

Success Measure:

Increase the percentage of DVR participants who exit DVR services with incomes at or above 200% of federal poverty level from 18% to 25% by June 2025.

Strategic Objective #4: Increase customer satisfaction with DVR services by addressing customer and stakeholder concerns about service timeliness and quality and incorporating ideas for improvement.

The Action Plan:

  • Develop strategies to improve timely and continuous case progress and reduce the time customers are wait-listed for services. Establish customer contact and response standards as performance measures for counseling staff. Establish an approach for reducing the impact to customers’ case progress when staff transitions and vacancies occur.
  • Modernize the case management system to improve the effectiveness of service delivery and agency capability to assess program effectiveness and continuous improvement.
  • Enhance tools and skills for performance monitoring, evaluation and continuous improvement: establish key performance measures; evaluate and coach staff using performance reports; conduct case reviews to identify practices that need improvement; implement standard operating procedures and Lean techniques to achieve quality improvements; build capacity throughout DVR for continuous improvement and innovation; and provide training to address knowledge and skills gaps.
  • Facilitate the workgroup established to strengthen communication and partnerships between DVR and Community Rehabilitation Programs and address strategies to improve service quality and outcomes.
  • Fully implement the Washington State Rehabilitation Council’s Customer Satisfaction Survey. Evaluate and address concerns conveyed through that survey, focus groups and employee surveys.

Success Measures:

  • Increase customer satisfaction rates from 70% to 75% by June 2025.
  • Increase timely completion of individual plans for employment from 97% to 99% by June 2025.

Strategic Objective #5: Promote equity, diversity, access and inclusion in the workplace by hiring and retaining a diverse workforce that is inclusive of people with disabilities and representative of the racial and ethnic diversity of the state.

The Action Plan:

  • Create and implement a consistent and repeatable statewide process to ensure consistency in hiring practices for the purpose of mitigating bias in the review, interview and hiring process. 
  • Increase network relationships through Human Resources Development recruiters, administration leadership and State Business Resource Groups. 
  • Develop relationships with career centers and counselors at HBCUs and other diverse institutions with VR/counseling programs and comparable programs nationwide. Share job announcements for circulation at these institutions.
  • Develop a process to engage potential applicants to answer questions or provide follow-up information on DVR employment.
  • Obtain Certified Diversity Executive and Certified Diversity Professional credentialing for key staff and interested staff to support and promote EDAI objectives in the workplace. 
  • Publicize the work and successes of DVR to targeted audiences through media and events. 
  • Establish internship programs for students for staff recruitment purposes and encourage post-secondary students to pursue careers in vocational rehabilitation.
  • Promote a more inclusive work environment by providing opportunities for modified job duties, flexible work sites and flexible schedules.
  • Increase understanding and adherence to language access and ADA plans through training, communication and accountability practices in collaboration with leadership, DVR Language Access Advisor and ADA Advisor.

Success Measures:

  • Increase the percentage of people with disabilities in DVR’s workforce from 18% to at least 22% by June 2025.
  • Increase the percentage of people in DVR's workforce who identify as Black/African American (5.5%) and Hispanic/Latinx (9.7%) to 10% and 12%, respectively, by June 2025, to reflect DVR customer demographics.
  • All newly hired staff will complete EDAI Cultural Competency training and New Employee Orientation within six months of hire.

Strategic Objective #6: Create and foster organizational culture that promotes employee engagement and belonging.

The Action Plan:

  • Center staff voices through listening sessions, regular EDAI conversations and surveys to further develop a culture of belonging and respect. 
  • Improve onboarding plans for all new employees and implement exit interviews for staff who self-terminate from DVR. 
  • Encourage staff to dedicate time weekly to growth and learning about racism, oppression, caste norms, power and how these are embedded in DSHS systems. Compile resources on SharePoint for staff to use.
  • Improve mentorship and leadership development opportunities for all DVR staff and encourage staff to further their professional development. 
  • Improve communications around personal and professional development opportunities and EDAI engagement in Business Resource Groups, summits, conferences, external trainings and other related activities.

Success Measure:

Increase positive responses to questions in the EDAI index of the Employee Engagement Survey from 70% to 75% by June 2025.

Strategic Objective #7: Identify service delivery improvements for individuals who identify as Native American or Alaska Native.

The Action Plan:

  • Work with OIP Staff to provide 7.01 training to all staff on a quarterly or as needed basis.
  • Assess need for improvements to procedures addressed in the joint memorandum of understanding with Washington’s Tribal VR programs for referrals, joint cases, financial responsibility, shared training opportunities, information sharing and communication. 
  • Identify training resources and experiential opportunities to develop DVR staff cultural awareness in working with individuals with disabilities with Native American or Alaska Native heritage.
  • Provide Cooperative Agreement training for all staff, highlighting the importance of working with Tribal VR programs and providing culturally relevant services. Implement quarterly tribal liaison meetings statewide with DVR Liaisons and invite Tribal VR program staff to attend.
  • Provide quarterly data reports to Tribal VR program partners related to referral rates and status of self-identify Native American or Alaska Native customers.

Success Measures:

  • Increase referrals of applicants and customers who identify as Native American or Alaska Native with TVR programs by 25% by June 2025.
  • All new DVR staff will complete 7.01 training within six months of hire date.

Strategic Objective #8: Emergency Management Services - Prepare staff to respond to emergencies and workplace hazards to ensure that employees and visitors remain safe and secure and business operations are maintained and can recover quickly.

The Action Plan: 

  • Revise standard operating procedures for emergency preparedness and recovery.
  • Develop an emergency preparedness and recovery plan for all standalone DVR facilities, consistent with DSHS and other state policies. Include accident prevention, emergency response and worksite physical security in the scope of the plan. Review annually and revise as needed.
  • Ensure that staff co-located with DSHS or other agency facilities are aware of emergency plans and procedures for their location.
  • Develop emergency preparedness and recovery training materials. Develop and implement a training plan to address training needs for current employees, new employees and annual updates. Provide reports on training completion to supervisors.
  • Conduct Physical Security Annual Survey at standalone DVR facilities to determine the type and scale of risk, efficiency of security measures and need for additional security measures, based on security incident trends.
  • Communicate regularly with staff about workplace safety, updates to safety plans and training requirements and opportunities.

Success Measure:

All employees will be trained in emergency preparedness and recovery by June 2025 and annually thereafter.

Strategic Objective #9: Information Technology - Modernize infrastructure and applications using a Cloud Smart approach that aligns with DVR’s strategic plan and technology roadmap, as well as DSHS' and state enterprise IT strategy.

The Action Plan: 

  • Research requirements and develop a plan to shift Electronic Document Management System from the state data center to the Cloud.
  • Move EDMS into the Cloud, test and provide training on cloud-based version of the system and go live with the system.
  • Develop business need case and business requirements for external stakeholder access to Waves.
  • Implement new portal functionality in Waves.
  • Plan for and provide ongoing staff training and support on cloud-based applications, including EDMS, Waves, Microsoft Office 365 and Teams. 
  • Identify requirements, funding needs and priorities for remaining systems to be migrated from on-premises servers to the Cloud.
  • Develop and implement training plan for Azure certification of staff.
  • Participate in DSHS Cloud Governance meetings and any DSHS-wide Cloud Smart meetings.
  • Coordinate with other administrations on implementation of approved cloud solutions.

Success Measures:

  • DVR's statewide case management system Waves will be upgraded to have a cloud-based portal for select types of vendors and partners by June 2024.
  • At least three DVR IT staff who support cloud-based operations will be certified in Azure Cloud systems by June 2025.

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