14.1 Overview Work Experience Service

Work Experience services allow a customer to be placed at a business or at agencies within the community to complete short-term (12 weeks or fewer) experience and gain skills that are transferable to future long-term competitive integrated employment. If it is necessary for a customer to participate in Work Experience for longer than 12 weeks to meet the customer's needs, manager approval is required.

Work Experience may assist in:

  • determining if a customer is ready for competitive, integrated employment;
  • exploring career options for an individual; and/or
  • developing skills to include in an individual's résumé for a certain vocation.

Work Experience services provide an opportunity for customers to:

  • learn and experience work culture;
  • identify career interests;
  • explore potential career goals;
  • identify on-the-job support needs;
  • develop employability skills and good work habits;
  • gain an understanding of employer expectations;
  • build self-confidence;
  • develop soft and hard skills;
  • gain work experience and competencies in a vocation; and
  • develop an understanding of the workplace and the connection between learning and earning.

This chapter defines three services that are included within Work Experience:

The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) counselor is not required to purchase Work Experience placement before authorizing Work Experience monitoring or Work Experience training. VR may place the customer and then purchase either Work Experience monitoring or Work Experience training and coaching.

VR will not pay any provider for Job Placement services, including supported employment, if a customer is hired into permanent employment by the work Site during or after Work Experience services. Job Skills training can be purchased when the customer begins the permanent employment placement, if necessary.

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14.2 Staff Qualifications

Before any services are provided to customers, the Employment Service provider's director must approve the DARS3455, Provider Staff Information Form, completed by each staff member, and submit the approved forms to the provider's assigned Texas Workforce Commission (TWC) contract manager and assigned VR regional program specialist. The DARS3455, Provider Staff Information Form, must document qualifications and provide evidence of meeting all qualifications, such as transcripts, diplomas, reference letters, credentials, or licenses.

Staff qualifications for each service are described below. If a qualification requires a University of North Texas Workplace Inclusion and Suitable Employment (UNTWISE) Texas credential, additional information can be gained about the UNTWISE Texas credential at www.wise.unt.edu/crptraining.

A noncredentialed provider staff member can provide services to a VR customer only when the Temporary Waiver of Employment Services Credential Standards are followed. For more information, refer to Chapter 3: Basic Standards, 3.1.6.4 Temporary Waiver of Staff Qualifications.

The Work Experience specialist must meet the qualifications and credentials of a job placement specialist.

The Work Experience trainer must meet the qualifications and credentials of a job skills trainer.

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14.3 Work Experience Placement

14.3.1 Service Description

The Work Experience placement specialist assists the customer in the process of locating a Work Experience site that meets the criteria determined and documented on the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan.

A planning meeting is held with the VR counselor, customer, and Work Experience specialist to complete the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan.

Work Experience placement must meet the following criteria outlined on the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan:

  • At least three of the skills, tasks, or responsibilities listed in the Work Experience skills, tasks, and responsibilities
  • 100 percent of the nonnegotiable Work Experience conditions
  • 50 percent or more of the negotiable Work Experience conditions

Once the Work Experience placement has been established, the Work Experience specialist accompanies the customer to the worksite for the first day(s) (up to five hours total) of the Work Experience to:

  • complete a Work Experience analysis;
  • make recommendations for any accommodations or support the customer needs; and
  • educate the Work Experience site employees regarding any disability-related issues.

The Work Experience specialist may assist at the worksite with:

  • the customer's orientation to the workplace, roles, and responsibilities; and
  • communicating expectations for job performance, behavior, and social interactions.

The Work Experience placement is achieved after the customer completes five days or shifts on the Work Experience site.

Multiple Work Experience placements are allowed if they are necessary to meet the customer's goals. When a provider is used to assist in obtaining the Work Experience site for a customer, a service authorization is issued. If providers assist with multiple Work Experience placements, a service authorization is issued for each Work Experience placement. The Work Experience placement can be a paid or volunteer position. With volunteer positions, it is important that customers understand they will not be paid for their time.

VR cannot pay for more than 12 weeks of Work Experience mentoring and/or Work Experience training unless there is a vocational need. VR manager approval is required for an extension of Work Experience time.

14.3.2 Process and Procedure

The provider receives the DARS1600, Work Experience Referral, from the VR counselor. The referral must identify the date, time, and location for the Work Experience planning meeting.

Before Work Experience placement services are provided, a planning meeting is held with the VR counselor, customer, and Work Experience specialist to complete the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan, which outlines the criteria for the Work Experience placement.

When a customer gains a Work Experience placement on his or her own, with assistance from a teacher, friends, family, or VR staff members, the VR counselor must complete the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan.

While securing a Work Experience placement for the customer, the Work Experience specialist will assist the customer with:

  • research into identification of potential Work Experience sites;
  • paperwork (such as applications and questionnaires) required to gain a Work Experience opportunity;
  • the steps needed to follow up on potential Work Experience opportunities;
  • requirements (for example, interviews, classes, and meetings) necessary to gain a Work Experience placement; and
  • all required screenings, such as criminal background checks or health checks.

When a customer obtains a Work Experience placement, it is the responsibility of the worksite to determine, based on labor laws, whether the placement will be paid or unpaid. Third-party payments will be coordinated through Texas Industries for the Blind and Handicapped or a Local Workforce Development Board. Any individual (Work Experience specialist, VR counselor, teacher) assisting the customer in gaining a Work Experience placement can refer the business to the following links if the business has questions regarding volunteer or temporary paid employment:

The Work Experience specialist accompanies the customer to the worksite during the first day(s), up to five hours total, to provide assistance, training, and support to both the customer and business.

The provider submits a complete and accurate DARS1603, Work Experience Monitoring Report, and invoice after the customer works or volunteers five days or shifts at the Work Experience site. Once the form and invoice have been approved by the VR counselor, the invoice is paid.

14.3.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The Work Experience specialist documents in descriptive terms the information required on the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan, and DARS1602, Work Experience Placement Report, including:

  • information describing the Work Experience site;
    • evidence of how the Work Experience placement was secured and that it meets the criteria established on the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan, including:
      • at least three of the skills, tasks, or responsibilities listed in the Work Experience skills, tasks, and responsibilities;
      • 100 percent of the nonnegotiable Work Experience conditions; and
      • 50 percent or more of the negotiable Work Experience conditions;
  • evidence that the customer has participated in the Work Experience placement, being on-site working or volunteering for at least five days or shifts;
  • evidence that the Work Experience specialist took steps to secure the Work Experience placement, assisting the customer as needed in the following areas, which are listed on the DARS1602, Work Experience Placement Report:
    • Research into identification of potential Work Experience
    • Paperwork required to gain a Work Experience placement, such as applications or questionnaires
    • Follow-up on potential Work Experience placement opportunities
    • "In-person" requirements to gain the Work Experience, such as interviews, meetings, or classes
    • Screening requirements, such as background checks, drug testing, or health screenings
  • evidence that the Work Experience specialist provided initial assistance, training, or support to the business and the customer for a minimum of one hour and for no more than five hours total after the Work Experience placement was obtained, to address the following, as applicable:
    • Assisting the business and its employees with disability related issues
    • Setting up accommodations at the Work Experience site
    • Ensuring that accommodations meet the customer's needs
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of accommodations at the Work Experience site and making any adjustment to ensure the customer's success
    • Advocating for the customer to ensure that he or she gains the skills, support, and mentoring necessary to foster a positive outcome at the Work Experience site;
  • evidence that the Work Experience specialist evaluated and rated or described the customer performance and any need for accommodations; and
  • evidence that the Work Experience specialist identified and requested additional support from VR on the DARS1602, Work Experience Placement Report, as necessary to ensure the customer's success.

Payment for Work Experience placement is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

14.3.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 14.6 Work Experience Services Fee Schedule.

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14.4 Work Experience Monitoring

14.4.1 Service Description

Work Experience monitoring is provided by the Work Experience specialist to support and monitor the customer in maintaining the Work Experience position.

For each month (four weeks, 28 days) of monitoring, the Work Experience specialist will:

  • complete Work Experience observations;
  • make recommendations for accommodations or support the customer's needs; and
  • educate the Work Experience site employees regarding any disability-related issues.

Work Experience monitoring begins after the Work Experience placement is achieved. Work Experience monitoring can be authorized when the Work Experience placement was not made by the provider.

Work Experience monitoring cannot be purchased simultaneously with Work Experience training. When it is determined that a customer needs Work Experience training after Work Experience monitoring has begun, the fee for Work Experience monitoring will be prorated for the time the service was provided. The DARS1603, Work Experience Monitoring Report, must be submitted and any recording services provided before the switch to Work Experience training.

14.4.2 Process and Procedure

Work Experience monitoring can be authorized for a customer based on the amount of assistance and/or supervision a customer will need to meet job expectations. The VR counselor will determine what services are necessary and issue service authorizations.

If Work Experience monitoring is authorized by VR, the DARS1600, Work Experience Referral, is completed by the VR counselor and sent to the provider. If only Work Experience monitoring is being purchased from a provider, the VR counselor and customer complete the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan, and include it with the referral.

The Work Experience specialist provides monitoring and assistance for each month (four weeks, 28 days), and a service authorization is issued for Work Experience monitoring.

The provider must submit a complete and accurate DARS1603, Work Experience Monitoring Report, with the invoice. Once the form and invoice have been approved by the VR counselor, the invoice is paid.

14.4.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The Work Experience specialist documents in descriptive terms the information required on the DARS1603, Work Experience Monitoring Report, including evidence:

  • of the hours the customer worked or volunteered for the reporting period;
  • that the customer continues performing the skills, tasks, and responsibilities established in the Work Experience, and  achieves all nonnegotiable Work Experience conditions established in the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan;
  • that all monitoring visits and contacts (training or support) were conducted between the start date and end date of the monthly monitoring and included:
    • a minimum of one face-to-face, in-person meeting with the customer and worksite supervisor;
    • at a minimum, weekly face-to-face, in-person "check-in" contacts; and
    • a summary, including a date and information related to discussion regarding support, training, and/or the customer's job performance, recorded for each contact; and
  • that assistance, training, or support was provided, including, but not limited to:
    • assisting the business and its employees with disability-related issues;
    • setting up accommodations at the Work Experience site;
    • ensuring that accommodations meet the customer's needs;
    • evaluating the effectiveness of accommodations at the Work Experience site and making any adjustment to ensure the customer's success;
    • advocating with, and/or for, the customer to ensure that he or she gains necessary skills;
    • corresponding to gather information related to the customer's job performance, barriers, and needs; and
    • the customer's soft and hard skills have been evaluated for the reporting period.

Payment for Work Experience monitoring is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

14.4.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 14.6 Work Experience Services Fee Schedule.

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14.5 Work Experience Training

14.5.1 Service Description

Work Experience training services are provided by a Work Experience trainer when a customer needs more training and support than is occurring at the Work Experience site.

Training provided by the Work Experience trainer can include:

  • teaching skills;
  • reinforcing skills; and
  • establishing and setting up accommodations and/or compensatory techniques to increase the customer's independence and ability to meet the Work Experience site's expectations.

Work Experience training occurs after Work Experience placement services are complete. Work Experience training can be authorized when the customer gains work experience on his or her own, with assistance from a teacher, friends, family, VR staff member, or provider. Work Experience training cannot be purchased simultaneously with Work Experience monitoring.

14.5.2 Process and Procedure

Work Experience training can be authorized for a customer based on the amount of assistance and/or supervision a customer will need to meet the job expectations. VR counselors will make a determination when Work Experience training is needed and the number of hours to be included in the service authorization.

If Work Experience training is authorized by VR, the DARS1600, Work Experience Referral, is completed by the VR counselor and sent to the provider. If only Work Experience training is being purchased from a provider, the VR counselor and customer complete the DARS1601, Work Experience Plan, and include it with the referral.

The Work Experience site, the customer, the VR counselor, and Work Experience trainer should be involved in the training plan to identify goals to be addressed with the customer on the DARS1600, Work Experience Referral, and DARS1604, Work Experience Training Report.

The Work Experience trainer records the customer's abilities and challenges as well as observations and recommendations related to the Work Experience training goals on the DARS1604, Work Experience Training Report.

The provider must submit a complete and accurate DARS1604, Work Experience Training Report, with the invoice. Once the form and invoice have been approved by the VR counselor, the invoice is paid.

14.5.3 Outcomes Required for Payment

The Work Experience trainer will:

  • address the goals on the DARS1600, Work Experience Referral, and discuss with the VR counselor any additional goals or changes that may be necessary;
  • use structured intervention techniques that employ the most effective, but least intrusive, methods possible to help the customer learn the essential soft and hard skills of the Work Experience;
  • use structured intervention techniques that employ the most effective, but least intrusive, methods possible to help the customer learn the skills necessary to arrange and use transportation to get to and from the Work Experience site;
  • work with the customer, employer, and VR staff members to establish the support services, accommodations, compensatory techniques, and training necessary to address barriers and ensure the customer's successful participation in the Work Experience;
  • monitor the customer's performance to foster improvement; and
  • gradually reduce the time spent with the customer at the Work Experience site as the customer becomes better adjusted and more independent and no longer needs training support.

Using the DARS1604, Work Experience Training Report, the Work Experience trainer documents, in descriptive terms, the following:

  • The Work Experience training goals and focus areas as prescribed on the DARS1600, Work Experience Referral, and/or service authorizations
  • Total time of all sessions recorded on the DARS1604, Work Experience Training Report
  • Complete progress log of all training sessions with each entry, including:
    • date the service was provided (MM-DD-YY);
    • start time of session (hh:mm a.m. or p.m.);
    • end time of session (hh:mm a.m. or p.m.);
    • total time of the session using quarter hour (.25) increments (Note: .25 = 15 minutes, .50 = 30 minutes, .75 = 45 minutes, and 1.0 = 60 minutes. Use 0 for nonbillable notation.);
    • number corresponding to the goal addressed in the training session; and
    • a narrative description of the services provided by the Work Experience trainer and the customer's performance of skills in relation to the customer's goals.

Payment for Work Experience training is made when the VR counselor approves a complete, accurate, signed, and dated:

14.5.4 Fees

For more information, refer to 14.6 Work Experience Services Fee Schedule.

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14.6 Work Experience Services Fee Schedule

  • Work Experience Monitoring: $200.00 per month—Cannot be purchased simultaneously with Work Experience training
  • Work Experience Placement: $750.00 per placement—Can be purchased multiple times for a customer
  • Work Experience Training (Individual): Negotiated up to $37.50 per hour—Cannot be purchased simultaneously with Work Experience monitoring
  • Work Experience Training (Group): Negotiated up to $19.00 per hour, per individual—Cannot be purchased simultaneously with Work Experience monitoring. No more than four individuals in a group.

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