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DVR's Rehabilitation Resource masthead

December 2013

DATA TICKER:
As of 11/26/13

Successful Closures

728 = 19% of goal
(15.3% elapsed)

Rehab Rate

63%

Minority Serv. Rate

56.95%

Social Security Reimbursement

$256,119.58

CONTENTS:

Celebrating FFY 2013

WDA Dashboard Awards

WDA Nominated Awards

Thank You

Staff Updates

Web What's New

the rehabilitation resource

Celebrating Federal Fiscal Year 2013

Through the hard work and dedication of DVR staff, DVR experienced a very successful Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2013.

In recognition of this success, DVR's Senior Leadership Team (SLT) recently announced the DVR Awards for FFY 2013.


WDA Dashboard Awards

These awards are determined based on Dashboard data.

image:WDA 11 Outcomes AwardHighest average employment outcomes per counselor (only counselors who began employment with DVR prior to October 1, 2012):

  • 1st to WDA 11 with 26.125
  • 2nd to WDA 10 with 25.64
  • 3rd to WDA 9 with 24.6

 

 

image:WDA 8 Rehab Rate Award

 

Highest rehabilitation rate for entire WDA:

  • 1st to WDA 8 with 62.6%
  • 2nd to WDA 11 with 61.9%
  • 3rd to WDA 12 (CCU) with 61.7%

 

 

image:WDA 7 Rehab Rate Award

 

Highest average rehabilitation rate per counselor (only counselors who began employment with DVR prior to October 1, 2012):

  • 1st to WDA 7 with 68.15%
  • 2nd to WDA 10 with 63.82%
  • 3rd to WDA 8 with 63.79%

 

image:WDA 4 Eligibility Award

 

Highest eligibility completion within 60 days:

  • 1st to WDA 4 with 96.9%
  • 2nd to WDA 5 with 95.2%
  • 3rd to WDA 10 with 93.6%

 

 

image:WDA 10 IPE Award

Highest plan development within 90 days:

  • 1st to WDA 10 with 91.5%
  • 2nd to WDA 11 with 87%
  • 3rd to WDA 4 with 86%

 

 

image:WDA 7 OJT Award

Highest average OJT per counselor (only counselors who began employment with DVR prior to October 1, 2012):

  • 1st to WDA 7 with 7.5 OJTs per full-time counselor
  • 2nd to WDA 11 with 6.3 OJTs per full-time counselor
  • 3rd to WDA 6 with 4.3 OJTs per full-time counselor

WDA Nominated Awards

WDA Directors submitted nominations to SLT for these awards. The nominations that were submitted for each award are included with the winners' announcements.

Employer Development Award (Tie)

WDA 2 - Walgreens Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative team (Jennifer Hrodey & Jessica Gitter)

In May 2012, Wisconsin partnered with Walgreens to pilot the Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative (REDI) which was also a part of a nationwide, 12-state pilot. Wisconsin launched this pilot project in Milwaukee County. The pilot in Milwaukee began with cohort training sessions in 4 retail stores. Within 6 months of implementation, the pilot expanded to 7 stores throughout Milwaukee County. In January of 2013, Walgreens announced the expansion of REDI throughout the country. In Wisconsin, the WDA 2 REDI team led the effort by expanding this place and train model statewide which has led to a successful partnership with Walgreens. This strong business services partnership has increased employment outcomes for consumers that desire to work in the retail industry. As a result of the WDA 2 efforts, REDI has increased cohort training opportunities to 17 retail stores throughout Wisconsin. Since the inception of REDI, statewide, 75 consumers have graduated resulting in 51 consumers hired by Walgreens and 3 with other retail employers. The hire success rate for REDI statewide to date is 72%.

WDA 8/9 - Amy Studden and Chris Nehring for Kwik Trip Partnership.

Amy and Chris developed the statewide protocol for the retail helper position and are the points of contact for these positions. Amy had never had any experience with Kwik Tip as a job developer prior to coming to DVR. From her initial training in Madison, Kwik Trip was identified as a top employer. Amy set up a meeting with HR and invited the 2 BSCs from WDA 8. Chris was the one able to attend. It was a good partnership due to Chris being a business owner and Amy knowing the job development side of things. They brought in 5 individuals from HR, including their return to work coordinator, for a meeting in June. Amy and Chris asked a lot of questions about their needs and got to know the company. Then, they let them know how our services could help them. HR brought up that years ago they had worked with a job developer in the northeastern part of the state to develop a "retail helper" position. They had never considered having the position statewide. Amy and Chris helped them to see the benefit of expanding. HR got approval from the VP to move forward.

Amy and Chris spent a lot of time with HR working out a protocol that was agreeable to Kwik Trip. The timing was perfect because they were having a district manager meeting where the helper position was shared. Slowly, managers are buying in. When a manager becomes interested, they notify HR. All the positions go through Amy. She sends the leads out to the other BSCs (or to Chris directly if it is in WDA 8). Their first meeting with HR was in June, and the 1st lead was sent out August 2nd. Throughout the process, when there is a disruption in protocol, Amy and Chris get the e-mails. They will discuss it and, then, Chris will follow up with HR on it.

In order to determine which online applications are DVR consumers, Kwik Trip put a direct sourcing drop-down with DVR as a choice on their on-line application so they can easily identify a DVR consumer. So far, 34 requests for a retail helper position have gone out statewide. From that, there are 2 OJTs, 1 TWE, and 9 direct hires - for a total of 12. There are more hires in the works. They will be meeting with HR in December to discuss how the process is going. In the meantime, they are assisting Kwik Trip to expand the retail helper positions into Minnesota. They are implementing the same protocols there with the help of Chris.

Best Rehabilitation Story

WDA 8

The VR Counselor first met the consumer at his home in October of 2004. He was lying flat on his back in bed and was wearing a halo on his head. He was very upset that he had "ruined his life" as a result of his recent one-car roll-over accident. He incurred a C5-C6 quadriplegia and was dependent upon his wife for all ADLs. At that time, the VR Counselor told him that perhaps it was too early for a DVR commitment as he had many other issues to resolve or take care of first. He agreed to reapply when he felt ready to pursue employment. In March of 2005, Ronnie did reapply for services.

Through the VRC's guidance and counseling, he agreed to complete a vocational evaluation at UW-Stout to assist him in determining his skills and aptitudes as well as the types of careers best suited for him. He also completed a van mobility assessment and a computer assessment. The results of the evaluation suggested the mechanical design area. The consumer applied and was accepted to the UW-Stout Applied Mathematics and Computer Science program. During the time he attended school, the modifications to a used van allowed him to get to and from home and school independently. Part way through the program, his van no longer was working, and he required a new van with adaptive equipment (which was provided by DVR). He graduated from UW-Stout within four and one-half years, earning excellent grades throughout his education. Since the time that the counselor first met with him and his wife, he had a son, followed by twins.

He knew that, when he graduated, he would need to obtain a job to support his family. And, he realized that he would possibly lose those benefits provided through IRIS long-term supports. But, he wanted to work and plan for a future. He was offered employment with EPIC, a Madison area employer. He began work as a software computer systems technician and was being paid $75,000 per year, with excellent benefits. He sold his home in northwest Wisconsin and purchased one in the Madison area. He has been employed with EPIC since October of 2012.

Best Practice (Tie)

WDA 4 - Relationship Development Efforts

Through collaboration, we have found that we increase opportunities for job seekers while developing successful community partnerships. To highlight some of our specific collaborative efforts.

St. Elizabeth Project Search:

  1. Helping train 8 student interns;
  2. Business Advisory Committee (Including BSC - Kevin Virobik); and,
  3. Gunderson looking to hire DVR consumers (4 consumers in a WE right now - with a potential for hire).

Mental Health Court:

  1. People who have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness and have a criminal conviction, and on probation for 12-18 months;
  2. VRC is a part of a weekly treatment meeting that is for DVR Consumers who qualify for Mental Health Court; and,
  3. Employment is a factor in helping.

IPS: As a result of our relationship with Outagamie County and the Mental Health Court, Outagamie County is working to establish an IPS (Individualized Placement and Support) Employment Model beginning January 1st.

Disability Resource Coordinator: In addition, we have grown our relationship with our Workforce Development Board, Disability Resource Coordinator. As a result of this relationship, we have:

  1. Connected individuals to work opportunities that have allowed some of our consumers to increase their skills by supervising refugees within a work setting;
  2. Worked with DOC to increase pipeline efforts to help reduce recidivism by engaging individuals seeking employment earlier on in their re-entry to the community; and,
  3. Established a voluntary referral sheet - when the Disability Resource Coordinator meets with individuals that he would like to refer to DVR, he utilizes the referral sheet to establish a relationship between him, DVR and the job seeker.

Specialized Transition/SE Caseload: We continue to increase our relationships with local schools; one way we have done this is by piloting a transition/supported employment only caseload. This has increased communication between DVR, Schools, and managed care organizations for the Oshkosh, Winneconne, and Omro area. In addition, we have held a meeting with CESA 6, and many of the schools within CESA 6 (at one time) to address concerns and questions. This allowed us to collectively analyze the TAG to increase awareness and understanding of everyone's roles - in an effort to maximize opportunity for the students we work with.

Training Grant Workgroup: We have a WDA 4 Training Grant workgroup that is working to establish a consistent process by utilizing a workflow document and tracking tool. This will give us the ability to have a "snapshot" of where each student is within the training grant process.

WDA 6 - Kim Rasmussen for her work as liaison with the Community Care of Central Wisconsin (CCCW) Family Care Organization.

One year ago, the relationship with CCCW was strained, fueled by conflicts between line staff, increased referrals of supported employment cases, CCCW calling in CAP frequently on cases, consumer complaints, and an overall crumbled relationship. After having several meetings between the leadership at Family Care and DVR attempting to iron out the communication issues and understanding changes that have occurred on each side of the organization, we developed an action plan to address the issues.

As part of the action plan, we implemented monthly liaison meetings to continue to improve the communication. Kim Rasmussen has been serving as our team liaison and has been instrumental in bringing issues to the forefront on difficult cases and attempting to resolve issues on the front line. Updates are shared by each partner as well as problem-solving suggestions on tough cases brought to Kim by other VRCs. As a result, we have not had any cases go to outside mediation, the Director has not received any complaints, and the entire relationship has improved.

These meetings aren't always easy, but Kim handles herself with professionalism and grace. This relationship has made the other challenges that have been presented to us (such as the MCO withdrawing LTS at the state level) easier to manage.

Team Spirit

WDA 2 - Team South

Members: Gregory Betters, Susan Chandek, Jessica Gitter, Martha Mendoza, Judith Heck, Michelle LaBelle, Antonette "Toni" Liddy, Carol Ramos, Jane Sweney, Pamela Ziegler, Suzanne Walter

In a January 13, 2013, article from Psychology Today, the characteristics of a good work team is described as members that are honest and straightforward, shares the load, are reliable, fair, complements others' skills, good communication skills, and positive attitude. Team South exemplifies all of the aforementioned attributes. Anyone that enters the Milwaukee Chase office can feel that positive atmosphere. Working in WDA 2 has it rewards and challenges. Team South embraces everything that comes their way with a "can-do" attitude.

Team South was the first team in the WDA that positively embraced the need to reduce the WDA 2 upfront workload by implementing weekly applicant orientation sessions and employment planning workshops. When the northeast office teams had a reduction of staffing due to resignations, Team South consistency volunteered weekly to help out their colleagues until vacant positions were filled. They helped the northeast office conduct weekly consumer orientation sessions and provided caseload coverage.

Team South takes every opportunity to celebrate their team accomplishments by recognizing one another for doing good rehabilitation work. Almost every work day, they eat lunch together. At each lunch gathering, there is always laughter that can be heard throughout the office. Each time a new member is added to the team, Team South makes it their mission to support their teammate and is always available to ease the stress and acknowledge the newest member's successes during the training period. Team South celebrates practically every special occasion such as staff birthdays, "you have been booed" showering their colleagues with gifts and lots of candy during Halloween and status 26 closures.

Speaking of status 26 closures, for FFY 13, Team South's status 26 goal was to obtain 153 successful rehabilitation closures. This team hit the ball out of the park by achieving 197 successful rehabilitation closures by exceeding this goal by 128.7%.

Individual Awards - Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor

IPE Timeliness - Tony Shay, WDA 9

Tony is the shining star to light the way in WDA 9 for IPE timeliness. Even though Tony has had a consistently high caseload and been involved in statewide teams, he was able to maintain a 91.9% rate for developing IPEs within 90 days (without an extension). He wrote a total of 74 IPEs, the most in the office. He uses vocational guidance and counseling along with different IPE process check sheets. These IPE process sheets assist the consumers to find resources to help them answer the different questions they need to answer in order to move forward as well as giving them other homework relevant to them. Tony is constantly looking for ways to improve the VR process for counselors, to make it more efficient. He was on the IRIS Redesign committee and recommended and tested tools counselors could use. He is also involved in the VSM process. He is currently working with another counselor and Deb of CAP to create a DVR process timeline sheet to be used with farmers as this has been an area in our WDA where we have struggled with some outliers that don't fit neatly into the toolkit. Tony is not only getting his IPEs done timely, he is helping to develop better processes and tools so that others can do it too.

Employment Outcomes - Karen Lambright, WDA 10

Karen utilized a wide variety of resources to achieve 44 successful rehabilitations this year. Fundamental to her success was developing comprehensive IPEs based largely on labor market information, and having high expectations from consumers and their supports to follow through and be actively involved throughout the process. Karen diligently maintained contact with her consumers, using all methods to find consumers who did not always contact her. She developed strong relationships with job developers, provided guided placement services herself, and worked as an effective liaison with high schools and Project Search to achieve success. Karen used Motivational Interviewing when working with her consumers which proved to be most effective in creating hope and change for her consumers.

Teammate - Mike Meehan, WDA 7

Mike is a true team player. He holds himself accountable to achieve more than his share, actively participates in every team meeting and willingly steps up to assist the team with additional work assignments. This is evidenced by the number of teams he has committed to and how he incorporates the missions of those teams into his daily activities. Mike is active on teams within DVR and groups outside of DVR as well. He is involved in the START and Assistive Technology teams and is the WDA 7 backup representative for the SenseAbility Team. He is also on the Northern Bridge collaborative group composed of the local colleges and VR from both WI and MN, the Lake Superior College Disability Services Advisory Committee and the Superior High School transition work group. These are by choice as a way to network with partner agencies and post-secondary schools to stay connected with the services they offer, provide education on the services WI DVR offers, discuss best practices in disability services and become a resource in transition and assistive technology to assist students/consumers in transition to be successful. It is also common for him to volunteer to be involved in the events coordinated by these groups. Mike brings a fresh dynamic that is consistently noticed and appreciated by his teammates. He listens intently to others and brings well thought-out questions and opinions that expand the thought process of the team along with a gentle sense of humor. This is confirmed by the number of compliments that have been shared with me as his supervisor related to just these traits. Mike goes above and beyond and is intentional in expanding his knowledge in the areas of his team commitments. He frequently attends trainings voluntarily to gain more insight and become a strong resource for co-workers, fellow professionals, consumers and their families. His counseling style is comfortable and appreciated by his consumers, and his professionalism and friendly helpfulness is valued by his cohorts. If he doesn't have an answer, he is intrigued to find it. Mike has a noticeable strength in researching and is good at sharing that information with his team. Mike provides exemplary service to the State of WI. He takes on responsibility and goes above and beyond to assist his teammates so that together they can provide high quality DVR services that lead our consumers to success in employment. He is deserving of an award and your consideration is appreciated.

Most Improved Counselor - Amanda Taylor, WDA 10

During FFY 2013, Amanda assumed greater responsibility as a member of the statewide Wellness workgroup, and as a member of the REDI team. In both these situations, she showed her creativity and willingness to actively engage with her colleagues and consumers. She has organized WDA-wide wellness activities - a Heart Walk, healthy dessert potluck, and EAP presentations. She also maintains the WDA Wellness Bulletin Board. In FFY 2012, Amanda achieved 14 status 26 closures and had a rehab rate of 30%. In FFY 2013, she achieved 37 successful closures and achieved a rehabilitation rate of 63.8%. Amanda's development as a counselor and indeed as a potential leader is clearly noticeable.

Best Rehabilitation Story - Greg Paquette, WDA 8

This consumer never held a competitive job in the community. His disability is Autism. He has difficulty with expressive speech and has some trouble interacting with people. He likes to put things together and can look at things and notice that things are out of order. He likes to go bowling, video games and collects movie related information. He has over 800 DVDs at home. He worked in an enclave at a hotel doing laundry and worked at a sheltered workshop where he learned how to solder electronic components. He said he liked that type of detailed work and he wanted a job in manufacturing.

With the help of his parents, DVR and a placement provider, a team was formed to discover the consumer's strengths and interests. After developing a understanding of who he is, the team brainstormed possibilities. The consumer had a sample of his soldering work which showed amazing detail and talent with soldering electronic circuit boards. Through looking at area businesses, a temp work/internship was developed at Rice Lake Weighing where they assemble intricate scales for hospitals and other uses. It is critical that the circuit boards are assembled and soldered accurately. Through his temp work at Rice Lake Weighing, he demonstrated his talents and abilities at soldering the circuit boards and he was hired. In fact, his supervisor was so impressed that she requested that she be provided with 20 more applicants from DVR!

Individual Awards - Consumer Case Coordinator

Grace under Fire (Tie) - Maryann Hollister (WDA 1) and Maggie Taylor (WDA 9)

Maryann Hollister

Maryann has worked for the State and DVR for 33 years and will wrap her career up on December 30, 2013. Having worked with Maryann directly for seven years, I can say these things: She comes to work each day with a smile on her face. Even in the face of a challenge, she demonstrates a congenial, light-hearted demeanor that is unequaled in DVR. I believe I have seen her laugh nearly every day I have worked with her. She is kind, caring, and a great listener. As such, she can navigate through complex fiscal matters and provider/consumer contact with ease and grace. She is a WDA 1 Fiscal Expert, and is very timely and responsive in helping any WDA 1 team member handle a fiscal conundrum. At a time when WDA 2 needed fiscal support, she offered to help. Any time coverage has been needed, Maryann has pitched in. When the revamped CCC position description was rolled out, Maryann began learning new skills and taking on new activities with a sincere commitment to do what was necessary to assist VR customers in any way she can. I have watched Maryann put complicated processes in place and shepherd them through successfully, like a bus pass acquisition method, and most recently, the new Employer of Record service. Maryann takes the time to ask coworkers about their family or their weekend. She takes the time to handle work that, left untouched, would make someone else's day harder. And finally, she is an incredibly good cook ... which goes a long way toward easing tension!

Maggie Taylor

She is the first person (DVR staff) that any and all visitors to our office have contact with. She handles all foot traffic, including Consumers, Service Providers, Social Workers, Support Staff, Employers, Guardians, Teachers, and so on. She covers all of this foot traffic while handling incoming calls, providing case management, fiscal obligations, mentoring, etc. Maggie is always helpful, courteous and knowledgeable. She demonstrates excellent organization/prioritization/decision-making skills and works well as a team member, as well as independently. She is responsive to consumers and effective in making everyone feel listened to and taken care of. I am amazed daily by how efficiently and gracefully she handles so many big (difficult) and little situations that help all her co-workers but, must importantly, makes the consumers feel like DVR truly cares and has their back. She makes our consumers feel and believe that DVR is a responsive and caring organization. She goes beyond the basic requirements of her job, always taking extra steps to assist our consumers and her co-workers. This includes covering appointments for VRCs, so as not to delay service delivery for our consumers. She is creative and works well with others in coming up with solutions to issues and difficult situations. She also eases tensions in the office with her humor and sense of teaming. She is not only an asset to WDA 9, but DVR as a whole.

Fiscal Expert - Jenny Wendlandt, WDA 10

No one in the WDA is more reliable than Jenny! She provides the best and most accurate advice on fiscal matters and is the "go-to" person for staff and supervisors when challenged with a problem or situation. Jenny provides outstanding support to vocational rehabilitation counselors and to consumers. She regularly coordinates procurement of services for the VRC, freeing up the VRCs to do more counseling. She provides VRCs and clients with directions as to how, where, and when services can be received. Jenny consistently provides cross-team coverage during vacancies and extended absences, and is the primary trainer on fiscal matters to new staff. Jenny volunteered to lead the WDA Consumer Case Coordinator group that meets monthly to review and to discuss real-time problems, brainstorming solutions and collectively make decisions for workflow efficiencies and coverage. Jenny is a trusted member of the IRIS Redesign Team. Jenny participated in the DVR Value Stream Mapping (VSM) for the fiscal process and is a Fiscal and IRIS Expert for WDA 10. Jenny regularly strives to provide staff with the most up-to-date fiscal information. As the fiscal expert for the WDA, she reviews fiscal practices for all staff and teams and provides direct feedback to coworkers regarding changes and errors. She also provides the management team regular feedback and information to correct patterns of fiscal practices that do not fall in line with policy and procedures. She regularly volunteers to provide support to other WDAs and other teams in WDA 10. Her training and fiscal skills are outstanding. She has excelled in maintaining the effective fiscal and case management support to all teams in the WDA.

Expediter - Deb Shaw, WDA 3

Deb has over 40 years of experience with DVR! She is extremely efficient and gets the job done. She continues to adapt and perform in DVR's ever-changing environment. She was the alert recipient for over 500 purchase orders during last fiscal year. This was more than double anyone else in the WDA. In the midst of her rapid PO completion, she will make sure the purchase is in the IPE and, if not, she will amend the IPE and call the consumer to discuss. She may wish that the VRC had checked this and will kindly remind them of this, but she still will just get the job done. In addition to her fiscal knowledge, she helps her counselors and the WDA to manage caseload activity. Deb also reviews eligibility and IPE reports and gives feedback to managers in order to help the WDA pay attention to what needs attention each week. Additionally, Deb is process-orientated. She can step back and look at a situation and come up with a solution that works. For example, her team spent the majority of a meeting discussing the new referral process and how it would affect the way in which day-to-day operations functioned. Deb listened for much of the meeting and was the one to offer a suggestion/solution that worked for the whole team. Finally, in Deb's 40 years she has seen a lot of changes, and change is hard. Due to her superb ability to expedite, she is able to express her concern about a situation but additionally almost always offers up a suggestion or solution to make sure the job gets done.

Teammate - Jaime Brown, WDA 4

Jaime is always willing to help all members of the WDA at any time. Jaime (being the newest CCC in the WDA) assisted the WDA by providing coverage during times of vacancy to different teams in two different offices for a period of 6 months. Jaime provided support to 5 VRC Caseloads and more than 500 DVR Consumers. Jaime has done all of this without complaint or expression of frustration. Within one week's time, Jaime provided all-day staff coverage to the Fond du Lac team out of the FDL office, the Oshkosh Team, the Menasha Team and during that same week provided staff coverage for two days to a neighboring WDA. Jaime is eager to take on new duties and tasks to contribute to all team efforts. Jaime is a contributing member of the Business Review Committee.

Best Case Manager - Erin Barstad, WDA 9

According to her counselors (Roxanne, Tony and Jackie), Erin is the best! Erin knows the cases so well that she will take care of things before the counselor even asks. She attends IEP meetings, gives presentations at schools, completes initial interviews, attends all types of meetings for counselors when they are on vacation or sick, or just to help out when they are booked up or overwhelmed. Erin handles all the traffic coming into the DVR office in Viroqua and will often address walk-ins directly, doing as much as she can so that the counselor does not have to get involved. She has participated in the annual dairy breakfast to share information with local farmers about DVR. She has participated in local job fairs so that she could pass along job info to consumers or help our consumers with the job fair process (as well as presenting about DVR information). All of our service providers and vendors comment on what a fantastic job Erin does in getting POs out quickly, problem solving with them and taking care of authorizing for things immediately when listed in the IPE instead of waiting for the counselor to do it.

Business Services Consultant Award

WDA 2 Business Services Team - Kurt Barikmo, Joshua Johnson, Bianca Shaw

WDA 2 Monday morning conference calls with Service Providers. In April of 2013, during a WDA 2 quarterly service provider meeting, it became apparent to the business services team that a timely method of communication and highlighting job opportunities was necessary. Prior to April, the WDA 2 BSC team held weekly "stand-up" meetings at each Milwaukee office twice per week to increase DVR field staff awareness of opportunities and subsequently consumer applications for positions posted by local area employers. These informal "stand-up" meetings were very successful in engaging WDA 2 staff in the process of connecting consumers to the vast array of employment opportunities. A similar approach was suggested to service providers. The BSC team suggested that each Monday morning a conference call could be implemented in which providers could engage with the BSC team to discuss current employment opportunities as well as those opportunities in the making. The conference call innovation was rolled out on April 29, 2013, and has proved to enhance communication with the service provider network. Prior to each conference call, providers receive an email of a list of job openings in an Excel spreadsheet attachment along with the call-in instructions. The Monday morning calls had an immediate impact. Many providers are on the line waiting for the conference meeting to begin and ready to discuss the employment opportunities for the week. The service provider engagement with the BSC team not only helped to build the relationships but resulted in a dramatic number of consumers applying for positions that were identified. Communication between the BSCs and the providers was the key to connecting the consumers being served by the provider network and the positions identified by the BSC team. Since the implementation of the Monday morning conference calls, 20 consumers have been placed in a variety of temporary work experience/internship, OJT, and non-OJT direct hire positions. This is truly a best practice that can be replicated across the state.

DVR Director's Award

Outstanding Contribution to Vocational Rehabilitation: WDA 5 for their coordination of four National Disability Employment Awareness Month Celebrations and Employer Recognition Events.


Thanks for a Job Well Done

Julie Ferchoff - VRC, Janesville

I am so thankful that I found out about DVR and that I was matched up with you. You have helped me in many ways including confidence, accepting my disability, and realizing that I have abilities that allow me to succeed.

I agree with the closure of my file. I am proud of my progress and the accomplishments and my employment. I have learned patience and the value of hard work during the job search. This was a success because you didn't quit when the search took a long time and were there for me along the journey. It inspired and motivated me to keep working and to ultimately find a great job. These lessons will apply to employment and life.

Lorie Lange - Section Chief, Central Office

Email from a BEP Operator

I wanted to take just a second to personally thank you for not only attending the recent WBEP fall conference meeting, but staying the duration.

It has been quite some time since an SLA Director has taken an active part and was attentive to the meeting.

Though it seems, at times, progress of the program has repeated agenda items, rehashed solutions, and personality differences; I know what things looked like only a few short years ago and we've made it through some shaky times.

Having been a past ECBV committee member and now on the RSVW board, I sense a fresh breath in moving forward, which I believe largely comes from your input and interest in seeing the program's success; as a vendor at large that is very refreshing. Thank you.

Karla Opatz - VRC, Eau Claire

Email from the mother of a consumer

I just wanted to thank you and DVR for all you have done so far to help us with our transition from school to work. I am hoping that, with a year of experience at Texas Roadhouse, when (consumer name) cannot go to school anymore she can still be productive and have a schedule that gives her pride and purpose. I can't tell you how much that means to me. She really is an awesome person and I am very happy she may have found a place where she can do good work for many years to come. We would not be where we are today if we had not had a team of support.

Emily Nyabwari - VRC, Wisconsin Rapids

Email from the mother of a consumer

(Consumer name) is so very happy to be working!!

Everything that has been done through DVR, all of you, has/have turned his world around and for the first time since he was a child, he is very happy! He has gone through so much disappointment in life and this has really been a gift! This means so much to me as his mother because I have seen him go through so much. When we finally got a diagnosis from the clinic regarding his disabilities and received the meds to help him a short time ago, his life started to improve. I am now thankful for all of the progress. I have just encouraged (consumer name), telling him that someday things will all just work out ... it seems now is his time and DVR has made that all possible. Thank you for caring!!


Staff Updates

New Faces/Transfers

  • Brittany Carter, VR Counselor, Manitowoc
  • Kathy Mesa, VR Counselor, Milwaukee
  • Kenneth Eberhard, VR Assistant (LTE), Green Bay
  • Robert Keehn, VR Counselor, Milwaukee
  • Jacqueline Meyer, VR Counselor, WI Rapids (Transfer from Hayward)
  • Ellie Hartman, PROMISE Grant Project Manager, Central Office
  • Brenna Kaiser, VR Assistant (LTE), Hayward
  • Marvin Sell, VR Assistant (LTE), Green Bay
  • Elena Rulseh, Business Services Consultant, WDA 10 (Transfer from WDA 3)

Goodbyes:

  • Nancy Stone, VR Counselor, WDA 2
  • Lisa Masciola, VR Counselor, WDA 10
  • Michael Exum, Business Services Consultant, WDA 10
  • Kari Larsen, VR Counselor, WDA 2
  • Carrie Hovland, LTE Consumer Case Coordinator, WDA 2
  • Shantell Henderson, LTE VR Assistant, WDA 2

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