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Career Planning

Categorized In: Case Services - Assessment Services/Planning

Approved Date: October 23, 2023

Owner: Kristi Berst

361.45(1)(b) The designated State unit must conduct an assessment for determining vocational rehabilitation needs, if appropriate, for each eligible individual or, if the State is operating under an order of selection, for each eligible individual to whom the State is able to provide services. The purpose of this assessment is to determine the employment outcome, and the nature and scope of vocational rehabilitation services to be included in the individualized plan for employment.

The foundational assumption is that everyone can work. Career planning shall be carried out in a manner that affords individuals the opportunity to explore and identify strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and labor market information. Through informed choice, career planning assists with identifying a career direction and developing a plan for achieving competitive, integrated employment and can occur at any time in the VR process. Activities may include interviews, career counseling, standardized and unstandardized assessment, simulated work activities, and/or worksite experiences. 

Informed Choice is a partnership between the specialist and the client where exploration of options occurs at each point in the client’s planning and service implementation. Informed Choice is a flexible, ever moving process, empowering an individual to consider a range of options towards self-determination. In the end, the individual, the specialist and an authorized representative, as applicable, hold responsibility for the decisions made and for the outcome of those decisions. 

The following basic guidelines for implementing Informed Choice are recommended:

Step 1:  Determining the best method of Communication

Clear, consistent communication between the specialist and the individual is important. Depending on the person's preferences and abilities, different communication strategies should be explored. Some elements to consider regarding communication are: preferred/primary language and translation needs, cognitive level (comprehension, reading, and writing), accommodations needed (stamina, hearing, vision, ect.) and others involved (family, agencies, authorized representative, etc.).

Step 2:  Gathering of information relevant to the decision being made

Provide information for the vocational area(s) of interest to include the skills, abilities, training and/or experience required to do the job. Gathering information about services, vendors, and providers can be accomplished in various ways by both the specialist and the client. Here are some examples: Learning specific needs of the individual and researching providers who may be the best fit; Researching the success rate and types of outcomes from various providers; Working with a college or university disability supports/services office and or visiting a college campus in person to learn about available resources and accommodations; and asking peers and supervisor's opinion on their experiences with a particular vendor or provider.

Step 3:  Discussion of the information collected

Address how the vocational information aligns with the client's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, as well as labor market information. 

Step 4:  Setting of Goals and Follow-Up

The final step in offering informed choice is to arrive at a decision based upon facts, options, discussion, and research relevant to the specific needs of each individual's situation. Goals should be set, including action steps, determining who is responsible for them, and a timeline for completion of each goal. Ensure progress is being made toward reaching the goals by providing regular follow-up directly with the client.

Be mindful of the power balance between the VR staff member and the client. Document options weighed with the individual, how informed choice was exercised, and supports provided, if applicable, to facilitate decision making and advancing in the career planning process.

1. Initiation and documentation of career planning activities to include all 4 guidelines outlined in the Policy section of this chapter:

2. For individuals who are recipients of local, state, and federal benefits, use the QE2 automated process to refer for Benefits Orientation. On the Existing Benefits screen, select a staff member who will complete the Benefits Orientation from the dropdown list. Only trained Benefits Orientation Specialists will complete the Orientation. The Benefits Orientation Specialist will complete all benefits services referrals and authorizations while the client has an open case and, if applicable, in communication and coordination with the client's authorized representative. All career planning services should continue while the client is participating in these benefits services to progress towards developing the IPE in a timely manner.

3. Assist client in determining or refining a job goal by utilizing a variety of tools to maximize the individual strengths and accommodate for any disability related needs. Career exploration is a balanced exploration tailored to the client's unique situation and can be completed through a variety of activities.

  • ​​​​Utilize collateral information gained from existing information, observations, and activities, as well as information from Pre-Employment Transition Services, as applicable.
  • Review the client's work history and transferable work skills to identify and address skills and barriers to employment.
  • Consider using the Discovery Booklet in it's entirety or individually selected activities. 
  • The Career Planning Preference form includes the minimum information needed for QE2 data entry. 
  • Referral to Vocational Evaluation, when appropriate. 
  • Confirm current work documents for all clients and determine if they are time limited. Consider documenting renewal dates in task note and adding renewal reminder on Outlook calendar to avoid a lapse in legal work documentation. QE2 requires confirmation of work docouments prior to IPE Approval or participation in an Work Based Learning, On-the-Job Evaluation, or Trial Work Experience. See the Application to the Employment Program Chapter for further details.  Acceptable documents: https://www.uscis.gov/i-9-central/form-i-9-acceptable-documents 
  • Consider progressive employment activities typically completed at a worksite. Assess interests, skills and abilities in an occupation and/or career pathway in a competitive work setting, job participation and document work environment observation. Assess planning and readiness factors, employability skills, and accommodation needs prior to initiating activities to ensure the client has adequate supports for a successful experience. If assessing a client’s needs is not feasible prior to the progressive employment activity, the needs may be assessed on the worksite. Assessment on the worksite allows the client and specialist to develop an understanding of the client’s needs for an actual worksite for purposes of career planning and eventually job placement. Multiple activities can be completed as needed. Progressive Employment Activities include:
    • Job shadowing
    • Informational Interviews
    • Volunteer opportunities
    • Individual and group business tours
    • Mock interviews with employers
    • On the Job Evaluation (OJE) 

4.  Determine if further education or training is required for area of interest. Explore and consider a variety of options for skill and credential attainment, based on an individual's strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and local labor market information:

  • Employer-based training (Volunteer opportunities, upskill or opportunities for advancement)
  • Apprenticeship
  • Certificate program (includes industry specific certifications)
  • Diploma program
  • Advanced Degree program
  • Additional coursework or non-credit classes

5. Address Labor Market Information.

  • Employer Database in QE2
  • Attend local WIN Meetings, if available- WIN meetings provide the opportunity to staff cases prior to writing the IPE. This verifies if employment opportunities are available in the local job market and the names of businesses. Staffing cases at WIN meetings also allows discussion for where progressive employment activities can be completed.
  • Informational Interview
  • Business tours
  • Pathful Explore
  • NEWorks 
  • O*NET - Tip: Search occupation of interest. Information is provided in a one page document with links and videos that can be uploaded to QE2 as documentation and shared with the client by email or print. 
  • Career Index PlusTCI+ 

6. Review work-related barriers potentially affecting the client getting or keeping the vocational goal they are interested in pursuing. Factors to address include disability, financial concerns, legal issues, daily living, work history, attendance, etc. Utilize Make Sure This Job Is Right For You

7. With the client, establish next steps, services, and supports necessary to achieve job goal. Address evaluation criteria, service provider responsibilities, comparable benefits, and possible cost participation, if applicable. Discuss strategies to assume cost in the future.

8. Determine mutually agreed upon goal(s), services, and supports required to write the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Document how the specific goal was determined through informed choice. Nebraska VR staff members have a responsibility to do everything possible to arrive at a mutually agreed upon job goal with a client; however, if an impasse occurs, consider the following strategies to resolve a disagreement:

  • Provide up front and honest options and feedback
  • Staff the case with the team, Office Director, and/or Program Director(s)
  • Utilize Motivational Interviewing to better understand the client's priorities, reasoning, and motivation
  • Provide a Career Pathways breakdown to help demonstrate layering skills and progression through a career cluster
  • Consult with Client Assistance Program
  • Consider mediation
  • Arrange a Progressive Employment activity to or introduce the individual to a subject-matter expert
  • Attend WIN Meetings and consult with Business Account Manager and/or VR Placement Specialist for networking opportunities

Approved Date
April 11, 2022 Show this Archived Version
November 30, 2020 Show this Archived Version
November 19, 2020 Show this Archived Version
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January 30, 2020 Show this Archived Version
August 15, 2019 Show this Archived Version
October 02, 2018 Show this Archived Version
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