VRS_Community Partners Update 3/23

Vocational Rehabilitation Services header

Dear Community Partners,

DEED-VRS Staff: Remote Services

VRS continues to work, so referrals and authorizations are continuing. VRS staff are working remotely and thus VRS staff are working with individuals remotely. This is a new world for VRS staff and community partner staff alike as we learn how to support the individuals we are here to serve.

Community Partners: Remote Services

As I wrote last Monday, DEED-VRS encourages community partners to provide Vocational Rehabilitation services remotely.

We know this is difficult because connecting with individuals in person, especially during turbulent times, is why we come to work every day. But, for the health and safety of our communities we are asking that community partners limit in-person interactions. Wherever possible, we encourage you to provide services virtually – via phone, face-time, Skype, text, email, etc. Please be in touch with the VRS counselor to discuss specific cases.

Plain-Language Explanation of COVID-19

See the link at the bottom of this email for a plain-language explanation of COVID-19. It may be helpful in your discussions with individuals we serve.

Resources for Remote Trainings

VRS staff are gathering resources as we find them on resources and information about providing services remotely. We will share those as we find them. The first of those resources is below.

3/24  NTACT Webinar: Providing Transition-Focused Activities Online and At Home

In our current climate in which many states and school districts are experiencing school closings or online/ home learning arrangements, educators, counselors, providers, and family members of transition-age students with disabilities are searching for ways to provide meaningful experiences for students. The current cancellation of work-based learning experiences, college visits, transition and job fairs - not to mention disruptions to instruction in many locales - are concerning for both families and their students. 

  • Tuesday, March 24, 2020 11:00 AM (Eastern)
  • Register Now
  • NTACT staff and others will share tips and resources to support the continued learning and skill development of students, while school and community access are severely restricted.

Some resources are listed here. Also stay tuned to www.transitionta.org for additional resources posted with the recording of this webinar.

Job Placement and Retention Performance-Based Agreements

While the pandemic has everyone adapting to new circumstances by the week, day, hour, minute, the work continues. Here is some information to improve our work together in providing placement and retention services to individuals

We are pleased to announce that the DEED website for Community Partners has been revised to improve navigation and access to information and resources on placement and retention services performance-based agreements (PBA). You can find the website here: https://mn.gov/deed/job-seekers/disabilities/partners/resources/pba/

The website now includes a new webinar on providing placement and retention services. This webinar is an excellent training resource for new and existing staff who provide PBA services and covers all facets of a PBA. Select the “training” tab on the PBA webpage: https://mn.gov/deed/job-seekers/disabilities/partners/resources/pba/.

We’ve also updated the “Communication Update” form and “VRS Placement Plan” form. Those and other forms associated with PBAs can be found on the “forms” tab on the PBA page: https://mn.gov/deed/job-seekers/disabilities/partners/resources/pba/.

These updates were necessary because of new Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) requirements and to update some language. Key revisions the training webinar and new forms include:

  • New RSA requirements to gather additional information regarding employment verification and documentation at both job offer and placement closure. 
  • New “Communication Update” form that was revised to include the new RSA data requirements. Providers must include the required information using either the Communication Update form, case note, or email.
  • The “VRS Placement Plan” form has been updated to include Customized Employment and Pre-ETS placement services, in addition to traditional placement services. 
  • Language changes regarding stabilization.

If you have questions about the website or changes to the placement and retention services process, please reach out to Evie Wold Evie.wold@state.mn.us or Maureen McAvoy Maureen.mcavoy@state.mn.us.

Please keep in touch!

We know everything is changing for you by the minute. If you have a change in how you’re providing services, if you’re limiting new referrals, temporarily closing facilities/workspaces, reducing staff, or restricting travel, etc., it would be helpful if you would email me, kim.babine@state.mn.us and Anne Paulson, anne.paulson@state.mn.us along with all your local teams. We are tracking that internally for staff to reference.


It is a tough time out there. We are thinking of people we serve and the people who partner with us –all of you - and how we can best support you. We’re in this together – take good care.

My best,

Kim Babine
Director of Community Partnerships
Direct: 651-259-7349