CSAVR held their spring conference in Bethesda April 8-10th. There were 310 attendees, primarily Directors and management staff from Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) programs across the country, including the territories. The organization has a strategic initiative called VISION 2020 which celebrates the 100th year of the public VR program in the U.S. VISION 2020: VR is driven by a commitment to people with disabilities and businesses at the intersection of ability and the demand for talent.
The conference kicked off with a VISION 2020 updated and followed with a panel that focused on the theme of the dual customer approach – there was a panel of individual and business customers, joined by their team of VR staff from Maryland and Virginia.
The Business Session included the trailer of a new film called Hearts of Glass which features a very innovative business (Vertical Harvest) in Jackson Hole, WY and their inclusion of people with disabilities in their workforce. You can see the video clip on the CSAVR website at csavr.org/the-net. The attendees also heard from the Ohio agency about an innovative approach to embedding VR staff in business as a direct resource. The CSAVR-NET (National Employment Team) and Disability: IN announce their new strategic partnership.
In addition to the great conference sessions there were a number of specialty topics addressed including Social Security and the Ticket to Work program, the Attorney & Hearing Officer Network training, the National State Rehabilitation Counsel meeting, the National Employment Team (NET) point of contact and the VR training center meeting. All of these focused on supporting customers – the individual candidates and business.
This Year CSAVR recognized a NET business of the Year, WINCO. WINCO is a certified employee owned company. They are working closely with the VR agency in Texas and expanding beyond through their initiative WinCo WinS which stands for “Workforce Inclusion Success.” This partnership includes recruiting candidates, supporting on the job training and retention. In Texas there has also been a focus on work readiness for students with disabilities. Utah is now working with WINCO on a business-based training program and future areas of expansion include Arizona and Idaho. The following key Congressional staff that support the employment and independence of individuals with disabilities were also honored with Awards:
Senator Patty Murray, Ranking Member
Committee on Health Education Labor & Pensions
Congressman Jim Langevin, Co-Chair
Bipartisan Disabilities Caucus
Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester
House Committee on Energy and Commerce
For more information, please visit csavr.org/conference-presentations to download a copy of the 2019 publication: “Investing in America”