Dates: January 24–26, 2022
Purpose: Provide a virtual forum for sharing innovative and creative solutions in vocational rehabilitation (VR) that are field initiated (frontline), improve the consumer VR experience, and result in high-quality employment outcomes.
Philosophy: Some of the most innovative and creative solutions come from professionals who work directly with consumers and recognize needs, opportunities, and new possibilities. This expo is designed to give frontline VR professionals a forum to share new ideas, innovative solutions, and creative projects with others in the field. It is also an opportunity to be inspired by peers to think differently, reconnect with creative abilities, and revitalize professional commitment by seeing the field from an exciting new perspective. The expo will be offered virtually on an annual basis to ensure the ability of all frontline staff to attend, participate, and be inspired.
Theme: New Year, New Ideas!
Presenters: All staff and organizations involved in services to VR clients are encouraged to consider submitting a presentation proposal, including senior managers, district managers, supervisors, counselors, and various support staff. Relevant organizations include State VR Agencies, Community Rehabilitation Programs, VR Service Providers, Independent Living Centers, Veterans Services, Health Care Providers, State Labor Agencies, Special Education Teachers, Adaptive Technology Specialists, American Job Centers, and others involved in helping people with disabilities to maximize their participation in the workforce.
Audience: The target audience for the expo includes staff members of Public VR Agencies, Community Rehabilitation Programs, VR Service Providers, Independent Living Centers, Veterans Services, Health Care Providers, State Labor Agencies, Special Education Programs, American Job Centers, Higher Education Institutions, Public and Private Funders, Community Partners, and others interested in innovative solutions to help people with disabilities to maximize their participation in the workforce.
Sponsorship: Sponsorship packages are available to help defray the costs of the expo and ensure that the expo is accessible to all frontline VR staff. Sponsorship types include keynote speaker sponsorships, breakout session sponsorships, virtual vendor booths, accessibility sponsorships, and so forth. For more information on sponsorship packages or other partnerships, contact SVRI.
- The proposal should describe an innovative solution, activity, project, or program started within the presenter’s organization by one or more staff members. The innovative practice does not need to be evidence based or backed by research, but it should have been in use for one year or more and have some proof of efficacy. The hope is to find grassroots problem-solving within organizations, including “crazy thoughts” that became successful new processes, approaches, or programs.
- The following types of innovative activities are of interest:
- New VR programs, services, or practices that improve the consumer VR experience and lead to high-quality employment outcomes.
- Innovative pre-employment and comprehensive transition services, youth service programs, or practices that prepare youth and students with disabilities for workforce participation and career pathway advancement.
- Innovative self-employment projects, microenterprise incubators, or business start-up programs.
- Innovative supported employment, customized employment, progressive employment, or on-the-job training partnerships and programs.
- Innovative collaborative partnerships that leverage alternative resources to meet VR client needs.
- Innovative apprenticeship partnerships, business partnerships, career pathway programs, or industry-recognized credentialing projects.
- Innovations to VR processes, such as the application process, eligibility process, or plan development process, that enhance consumer engagement, consumer services, and consumer outcomes.
- Innovative technology solutions, applications, software, or website design that improve consumer engagement and workforce participation.
- New billing or payment processes that reduce overhead costs for the agency and Community Rehabilitation Programs, increase efficiencies, reduce consumer waiting times, or improve access to needed services.
- Innovative stakeholder engagement systems, feedback systems, VR Client Advisory Councils, survey systems, or real-time consumer satisfaction measurement systems.
- Innovative consumer education and information systems or practices that improve consumer understanding of VR and engagement with VR.
- Remote counseling and service provision innovations, remote job interviews, phone apps, or client and/or vendor access to parts of the client case file.
- Innovative separation of duties, position realignment, or task realignment to improve efficiency and effectiveness of professional staff.
- Innovative management systems, internal control systems, strategic planning and performance management processes and tools, policy and procedure development and implementation projects, or program evaluation and quality assurance systems.
- Innovative human resource development (staff training) programs that address essential competencies and skills, enhance professionalism and professional commitment, improve agency performance, and create career advancement or succession planning pathways.
- All other innovative or creative solutions that help people with disabilities maximize their participation in the workforce.
- The expo will focus on peer-to-peer learning presentations and interactive discussion groups among peers.
- All presentations, except for one or two live keynote addresses, will be prerecorded; they will have a scheduled presentation time as well as be available on-demand during the expo.
- There will be scheduled discussion groups as follow-ups to the presentations—discussions specific to presentations and discussions around a theme.
- Presenters will be asked to be present for the discussion of their presentation.
- The platform will be Microsoft Teams. Captioning will be provided by the captioning feature of Teams.
- Presenters will be expected to collaborate with SVRI and other expo partners to create implementation toolkits or replication guides that can be used by other state VR agencies to customize and implement innovative practices.
Proposal Submission and Deadline:
Proposals must be submitted online. The form can be found at Request for Proposal If there is any difficulty accessing the form, email email@example.com.
Proposals are due by June 4, 2021, at 4 p.m. (CDT).
The Innovation Inspiration Expo and SVRI require that all proposals be reviewed and approved by the leadership of the potential presenter’s organization prior to submission.
Questions and/or Assistance Preparing the Proposal:
The goal is to secure a broad range of presenters and topics for this expo. The expo committee is especially interested in examples of innovative strategies, solutions, projects, and programs that were created by or in collaboration with marginalized communities and/or with underserved or unserved populations that meet the needs of people with the most significant disabilities.
For questions about this Request for Proposals or assistance preparing the proposal, email firstname.lastname@example.org.