Nebraska VR Where your future begins

Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services

Partners in support of competitive, integrated employment for people with Intellectual / Developmental Disabilities (I/DD)

Nebraska VR partners with Nebraska Health and Human Services’ Division of Developmental Disabilities (DDD) and community agencies to provide supported employment services to people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Through service agreements with agencies in Nebraska’s communities, people with I/DD are supported to meet employment goals for competitive, integrated employment established in an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Using a milestones payment schedule, VR has agreements with community agencies to provide individualized supports so each person may obtain, learn, and retain a job in his or her chosen field. Once the person is stable on the job, has retained the job over time, and both the person and employer are satisfied with the working relationship and performance, VR determines the person to have obtained a successful outcome. If the person requires long term supports, DDD is able to authorize supported employment funding to provide them. People with I/DD across the State benefit greatly from the collaborative efforts of VR staff, DD Service Coordinators and community-based providers’ Employment Specialists.

For more information about how these partners help people to achieve employment success, contact Carla Lasley at 402 580-3247.


 

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Collaboration Success Stories

Carolyn Richard at her employer McDonalds

And Then Go For It!

Carolyn Richard has this advice for those who would like to work: "Go out there and apply, follow-up and see if the employer wants to interview you, and then go for it!" Carolyn says that having a job 'has changed my life!' Her employment story represents a successful outcome of the collaboration of DHHS' Division of Developmental Disabilities, Nebraska VR, community-based supported employment provider, Mosaic, McDonald's General Manager, Sonja Ventura, other community agencies, and, most importantly, Carolyn, whose motivation and willingness to work are inspirational.

Carolyn has not had a lot of opportunities for employment. Years ago, she worked at a fast food restaurant, then spent many years doing work at a sheltered workshop where she was paid at a piece-rate. More recently she held a job in child care but found that job too sedentary for her: rocking infants to sleep made her very tired. Carolyn thought a job in customer service would be particularly well-suited to her, as she likes to be active and interact with people.

Knowing that a good job match is a prerequisite for a successful employment outcome, Carolyn's supported employment provider, Mosaic, assisted her with identifying jobs where she could be more active. When applying for jobs they also considered things like transportation. Having a job close to home would allow Carolyn to walk to work since public transportation was not available.

Carolyn applied at McDonald's and has been on the job for nearly a year. She works about 20 hours per week. Mosaic staff helped Carolyn problem-solve when inclement weather would not allow her to walk or bike to work; that problem was solved when Carolyn's supervisor offered to provide transportation when there is bad weather. VR authorized Benefits Planning for Carolyn so she is informed about how to report earnings and understands how she can work and maintain needed social security and health plan benefits. Careful attention to detail and collaboration of everyone involved have been key in setting up Carolyn for continuing success.

Carolyn's drive to achieve her goals is, of course, the final and most important ingredient resulting in her success. Carolyn cites many ways that working has changed her life: She has been able to buy new furnishings for her apartment, a bicycle, and is considering saving for a trip in the future. She enjoys interacting with customers and has gotten to know a lot of people in the Hastings community. Walking to work has allowed Carolyn to lose weight and she now has the money to buy new clothes; the purchase of a 'fitbit' is on her to-do list, so more healthy habits are on her mind, too.

Recently, Carolyn was asked to train a new co-worker on some food preparation tasks; she is honored to be the one doing the training. Carolyn is moving up and looking to the future. She plans to begin pursuit of a life-long dream to obtain certification as a nursing assistant. She is doing some self-study, and knows she can achieve this goal, too. Those involved in supporting Carolyn congratulate her on her achievements to date and look forward to following her continued success!

Frequently Asked Questions

Everything job seekers need to know about the collaboration between Nebraska VR and Developmental Disabilities. (Click on the question to reveal the answer.)

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Yes, but the individual cannot receive any DD employment-related day services (Prevocational, Supported Employment - Follow-Along, Supported Employment - Individual, or Supported Employment - Enclave) while receiving VR services.

Yes, the individual would be able to participate in the following waiver services:

  • Adult Day Services
  • Habilitative Community Inclusion
  • Habilitative Workshop
  • Respite

Yes, an individual may choose a different provider for residential and for Supported Employment. Services cannot happen at the same time.

Competitive, integrated employment is defined as being gainfully employed in a job that takes place in an integrated community setting where the participant receives a competitive wage for their job. Competitive wage is at or above the minimum wage, but no less than the customary wage and level of benefits paid by the employer for the same or similar work performed by an individual without a disability. Benefits include worker's compensation, paid holidays, paid vacations, paid sick time, health insurance, etc. Any limitations in work hours or level of pay must result directly from the participant's disability, which cannot be overcome by additional services and supports. An integrated community setting is a competitive employment worksite in the community in which individuals with disabilities interact with individuals without disabilities (other than those who are providing services to them) to the same extent that individuals without disabilities in comparable positions interact with other individuals.

Supported Employment (SE) means competitive integrated employment, including customized employment, in which an individual with a disability is working toward competitive integrated employment that is individualized, and consistent with the unique strengths, abilities, interests, and informed choice of the individual, and includes ongoing support services.

Service Providers will track their own employees by name, identifying number, start dates, and CCIR intervals with a basic spreadsheet to provide Department of Labor (DOL) Wage and Hour Division.

Yes, the ineligibility letter will outline the process for appeal with the Client Assistance Program (CAP).

Watch Pathway to Employment Video Series

The Pathway to Employment Video Series is designed to de-mystify the many services provided to clients and businesses while highlighting the innovation that is the culture of Nebraska VR. While certainly each story is either one of progress towards an employment goal or a client's employment goal success, they are also stories about the important role played by staff members, businesses, ATP, Easter Seals, Project SEARCH, and others. Go to: vr.nebraska.gov/videos/

Our Mission

We help people with disabilities, prepare for, obtain, and maintain employment while helping businesses recruit, train, and retain employees with disabilities.

Contact Us

Nebraska VR
Nebraska Department of Education
Address: P.O. Box 94987, Lincoln, NE 68509
Telephone: 402-471-3644
Toll Free: 877-637-3422 or 877-NE-REHAB
FAX: 402-471-0788
E-mail: