VRS_CPC Key Messages March 2022

Vocational Rehabilitation Services header

Dear VRS Community Partners,

The VRS Community Partners Committee (CPC) Committee offers VRS Community Partners opportunities to provide strategic advice and consultation to VRS leadership on topics and issues affecting the statewide network of community partners and employment services for individuals with disabilities in Minnesota. In addition, the committee provides a forum for VRS and VRS Community Partners members to work collaboratively and build the capacity of Minnesota’s rehabilitation community to advance competitive, integrated employment for Minnesotans with disabilities. The committee includes representatives from 12 VRS Community Partner Organizations.

Key messages from each meeting are developed and documented for distribution to the broader VRS Community Partner and VRS staff community. Below are the Key Messages from the January CPC meeting. For more information on the CPC or to view these Key Messages online, please go to the CPC page on VRS’s website.

VRS Community Partners Committee Key Messages       

Meeting Date: Wednesday, February 16, 2022, 9:00am to 12:00pm

Updates regarding the upcoming 2022 VRS Community Partners Contract Cycle

  • Current VRS professional/technical (P/T) contracts will expire on June 30, 2022. Preparations and approvals are in the final stages for a new Request for Proposal (RFP) for 2022 VRS P/T contracts with a targeted posting of early March.
  • The RFP will be posted on the VRS Community Partners webpage and on the state register. VRS will announce the posting via a gov delivery email notice that will include the RFP and application. The RFP posting is required by state law to be open a minimum of 21 calendar days.
  • VRS will hold a Webinar in March to review the new RFP and Application. Community Partnerships Program Specialists will provide 1:1 virtual contract consultation to discuss proposed services and fees with each applying community partner. These consultations are anticipated to take place starting in March and go through May.
  • The VRS Community Partners Team will also be updating partners at BEN meetings as well as the new Community Partners Conversation monthly meetings that begin in March (see the next section of Key Messages for more information on the new monthly series).
  • One area of change that community partners will see in the new application for a Professional Technical contract with VRS is a section of questions related to a Community Partner’s commitment to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI.) The section will include an attestation that the partner organization is committed to staff training practices that result in providing services that are culturally informed, affirming, and appropriate to the served individual’s lived experience.
  • VRS will be asking community partners to submit complete applications in April to ensure a July 1, 2022, effective date for their new 2022 P/T master contract.
  • All new contracts will be issued for a 2-year period. CRPs may have the option to extend the contract each year up to an additional 3 years (5 years total) after that first term. There is no change to the term of the LUV contract: that will remain 2 years. After 2 years, LUVs need to reapply and execute a new contract.
  • The new contract language is based on an updated State of Minnesota contracts template issued by the Office of State Procurement. Every new contract must be approved by DEED-VRS, DEED-Fiscal Services, and the Department of Administration’s Office of State Procurement (OSP).  
  • To avoid the anticipated high volume of contracts through VRS, DEED-fiscal, and Office of State Procurement at the end of the state fiscal year (June 30, 2022), VRS will be working hard to get contracts ready to go by early June for July 1 start dates.
  • The VRS Community Partners Team is available for consultation and questions at any point along the way. Members of the team are Anne Paulson, Sara Sundeen, Janeen Oien, and Jess Outhwaite.
  • As part of the RFP and application communication plan, the Community Partners Committee recommended that VRS highlight the major areas of change in the new application and contracts since that last contract cycle five years ago.

Preview of new monthly VRS Community Partner Conversations Series

  • The VRS Community Partnerships team will offer a new “office hours” opportunity for Community Partners to connect with the Community Partnerships Program Specialists. These meetings will be called “Community Partner Conversations.”
  • What is the purpose? The VRS Community Partners Conversations meetings are meant to be casual office hours to provide more support and community building for you, our partners.
  • What’s the structure? VRS Community Partnerships Program Specialists will lead the meetings, will provide a short training on a particular topic for that month, and have ample time for general questions and answers each month.
  • Who should attend? Any Community Partner staff are welcome from direct service to billing to supervisors. We plan to send the meeting topic ahead of each Community Partners Conversation so organizations may send staff that apply to the topic each month. Regular attendance is not required.
  • When will the meetings happen? The VRS Community Partners Conversations will be recurring meetings on the first Wednesday of every month from 8:30am – 9:30am. Mark your calendars!
  • Future potential training topics include: How to market your organization to local VRS offices, 2022 PT Contract Conversations, Navigating the Community Partnership Website and resources available to partners, Invoicing Tips, New Contract Q & A, Report writing tips, and WF1 Access.
  • These monthly meetings are intended to be more interactive and get into more specific issues that Community Partners might be seeing. Themes from these monthly meetings will be highlighted in the bi-monthly VRS Community Partner + VRS Staff Forum as appropriate.
  •  March VRS Community Partners Conversation
    • Date: March 2, 2022
    • Time: 8:30am – 9:30am
    • Meeting Topic: Communication tips for partners and marketing your organization to local VR offices.
    • Register by clicking this link, then you’ll receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the forum: https://www.zoomgov.com/meeting/register/vJItde2qrj8qHk14gaF5O1MTgHaVKiwCZQ8.
    • Accommodations: If you need an accommodation for the meeting(s) please contact Janeen Oien at janeen.oien@state.mn.us.

Our best,

Kim Babine and Chris McVey, CPC Committee Co-Leads

Chris McVey, M.S., CRC
VRS Director of Strategic Initiatives
VRS Community Partners Committee Co-Lead
Email: Chris.McVey@state.mn.us
Direct: 651-259-7357

Kim Babine
VRS Director of Community Partnerships
VRS Community Partners Committee Co-Lead
Email: Kim.Babine@state.mn.us
Direct: 651-259-7349