Supported Employment Job Development & CESP Guidance

2019 VR Provider

Dear Vocational Rehabilitation Providers,

We wanted to reach out to all Supported Employment Job Development (SEJD) providers regarding the Community Employment Support Professional (CESP) requirement.  In the past eight (8) months since the CESP staff requirement became effective, OOD has been in discussion with our providers and our field offices to monitor and evaluate the implementation and to ensure the availability of SEJD services.  During this time, providers have shared a number of best practices and strategies for maintaining CESP certified staff, which we would like to share with the provider community at large.   

Here are some considerations and strategies for meeting the CESP requirement for SEJD:

  • Become familiar with the CESP certification process and exam requirements. Please see for more information. 
  • When hiring staff to provide SEJD, include the requirements necessary to sit for the CESP in the job posting and job description.  (E.g. “Must have 1 year of employment support professional work experience specifically working with individuals with disabilities.”)
  • Carefully consider interview questions needed to help understand a candidate’s ability to sit for and to pass the CESP examination and their ability to provide SEJD.
  • Consider ongoing staff development for current staff, such as to assist current job coaches to work toward the CESP credential and to provide SEJD.  These staff development activities also may be helpful to CESP certified staff who need Continuing Education Units (CEU) to maintain certification.
  • Have supervisors or other “back up” staff hold the CESP credential.  Supervisors or backup staff could help with coverage during staff transitions or when staff caseloads are at capacity.
  • Utilize succession management principles to get job coaches or other personnel CESP certified in advance of the need.  If there are an expanded number of referrals or you experience staff vacancies, staff will already be prepared to step into the job developer role for SEJD.
  • Work with the local office to discuss the potential number of SEJD referrals and strategies of how to meet that need, including consideration of hiring additional CESP staff.

Given the feedback we have received from providers about the continued need to build capacity for CESP certified staff to deliver SEJD services, we are pleased to let you know that OOD has committed to a final round of provider staff CESP examination fee support in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2020.  OOD has sponsored two rounds of testing support to date, with 328 examinations sponsored last year and 230 sponsored this year for a total of 558 examinations. 

We appreciate the feedback received from providers regarding the CESP requirement, which allows us to better serve individuals with more complex disabilities in need of supported employment services.  The 8% increase in SEJD rates, effective 10/1/19, has been put in place so that providers can hire and retain qualified staff for this service. In addition to the proposed rate increases, the draft version of the VR Fee Schedule will allow for Tier III of Job Development (retention) services to be conducted by staff without a CESP.  This will allow a job coach who may have been working with a participant to continue with retention check-ins.  The proposed draft language would also allow a CRC credential to supersede the CESP requirement.  We are optimistic that these enhancements will provide relief to providers in meeting these requirements. 

If you have any questions, please e-mail the OOD CRP Mailbox at  We appreciate all that you do to support our participants with Supported Employment Job Development services.

- Provider & Contract Management Unit