Where your future begins

Career Planning

Categorized In: Case Services - Assessment Services/Planning - Assessment Services

Approved Date: November 30, 2020

Owner: Paige Rose

The foundational assumption is that everyone can work. Career Planning assists with identifying a career direction and developing a plan for achieving competitive, integrated, individualized employment or self-employment at or above state minimum wage and can occur at any time throughout the case. Services shall be completed in a manner that affords clients the opportunity to exercise informed choice in selecting an employment goal with consideration given to his/her/them/hir/zir strengths, resources, priorities, concerns, abilities, capabilities, interests, and labor market information.

Informed Choice is a partnership between the specialist and the individual by which exploration of options occurs at each point in the person’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, both the individual and the specialist 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, reading and writing ability, mental health, physical accommodations, hearing, vision, family involvement, and intellectual ability.

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

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 his/her/their experiences with a particular vendor or provider.

Step 3:  Discussion of the information collected

Provide information for the vocational area(s) of interest to include the skills, abilities, training and/or experience required to do the job. 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 specialist and the client and document options weighed with the individual and how he/she/they/ze exercised informed choice on how to proceed in the career planning process. Reviewing VR Process Chart with the client may be helpful. 

​​​​1. Reference Initial Meeting to Next Step, Planning & Readiness Factors, and Meet You Where You Are guides.

  • Consider using the Discovery Booklet OR the Career Planning Preferences form with the client. Activity 1 of the Discovery Booklet allows clients to review identified interests with the specialist and discuss the relationship of advancement within a career pathway. This activity may assist him/her/them to more fully understand opportunities available to advance and increase earnings and possible benefits.
  • For individuals with an intellectual or developmental disability, the Career Planning Preferences form shall be used to initiate exploration and the VR Profile for Supported or Customized Employment document is meant to be the most comprehensive planning tool to gather Discovery information and work towards IPE development. 
  • Confirm requirements for legal work status (if time-limited) and document renewal dates in task note. Consider adding renewal reminder on Outlook calendar to avoid a lapse in legal work documentation.
  • Review the client's work history for transferable work skills and barriers to employment needing addressed.
  • Reference VR Specialist Initial Meeting to Next Step guide to keep client engaged throughout career planning process.

2. For clients who are recipients of local, state, and federal benefits, schedule Benefits Orientation. Once completed, refer and authorize for Benefits Assessment. All career planning services should continue while the client is participating in Benefit Counseling 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 his/her/their strengths and accommodate for the disability related needs of the individual. Career exploration is a balanced exploration tailored to the client's unique situation and can be completed through a variety of activities.

  • Reference Planning & Readiness Factors.
  • Utilize collateral information gained from observations and activities completed throughout Pre-Employment Transition Services, if applicable.
  • Review with the client the list of Career Exploration activities in Step 2 of the Discovery Booklet so the client can decide which activities will assist in selecting a job goal.
  • Reference IPE Guide and Job Planning Resource Guide for other career exploration and skill assessment (Abilities and Capabilities) options. Make sure goal is consistent with strengths and limitations.
  • Referral to Vocational Evaluation, if appropriate.
  • Consider progressive employment activities which are always completed at a worksite. These activities allows clients to assess their interests, skills and abilities in an occupation and/or career pathway in a competitive work setting. The activities allows for job participation and work environment observation. If possible, 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 have as an understanding of the client’s needs on an actual worksite for purposes of career planning and eventually placement. Multiple activities can be completed as needed.
    • Progressive Employment Activities
      • Job shadowing
      • Volunteering
      • 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 (upskill or opportunities for advancement)
  • Apprenticeship
  • Certificate program (includes industry specific certifications)
  • Diploma program
  • Advanced Degree program
  • Additional coursework or non-credit classes
  • Volunteer opportunities

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.
  • NEWorks 
  • O*NET
  • Career Index PlusTCI+ 

6. Review work-related barriers potentially affecting the client getting or keeping the vocational goal he/she/they is interested in pursuing. Factors to be addressed are disability, financial concerns, legal issues, daily living, work history, attendance, etc.

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

8. Mutually agree on goal(s), services, and supports required and write the Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). Document how the specific goal was determined and informed choice was facilitated.

Nebraska VR staff have a responsibility to do everyting possible to arrive at a mutually agreed upon job goal with a client; however, if an impasse occurs, consider the following strategies to resolve the 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 and motivation
  • Provide a Career Pathways breakdown to help explain layering of skills and progression through a career cluster
  • Consult with Client Assistance Program
  • Consider Mediation
  • Rely on Progressive Employment philosophy to allow client a work site opportunity or to introduce him/her/them/hir/zir to a subject-matter expert
  • Attend WIN Meetings and consult with Business Account Manager for networking opportunities

Approved Date
November 19, 2020 Show this Archived Version
April 16, 2020 Show this Archived Version
January 30, 2020 Show this Archived Version
August 15, 2019 Show this Archived Version
October 02, 2018 Show this Archived Version
March 22, 2018 Show this Archived Version


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