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Work Toolkit:

1

Overview

E1MN works to deliver a seamless and timely employment support system for youth and adults with disabilities so they understand their options and get what they need to achieve and maintain competitive integrated employment.

E1MN is led by the State of Minnesota Departments of Education (Career and Technical Education and Special Education), Employment and Economic Development (Vocational Rehabilitation Services and State Services for the Blind) and Human Services (Disability Services Division). E1MN coordinates their work through steering committees for adults (out of school) and youth (in school).

Continuous improvement: We will engage with stakeholders, leverage promising practices, use data to adapt efforts, use resources wisely, and improve outcomes. 

Employment First: The values and guiding principles found in Minnesota's Employment First Policy will serve as the foundation for our work. 

Person centeredness: We will embed person-centered principles in our work to help people move toward meaningful work that builds on their unique interests, strengths and talents.  

Equity: Equity is fundamental to our work. People with disabilities of all races, ethnicities and socioeconomic statuses should have access to the supports they need to succeed. 

Collaboration: We will support each other and bring out the best each of our agencies has to offer to people and the process.

Simplicity: We will develop a system that is easier to understand, implement and navigate.  

Align our systems — policies, programs, funding, providers and roles — to better coordinate services and Employment First approaches.

Connect partners to solve problems, remove barriers and transform services.

Use data and information to drive our work and seek continuous improvement. 

Build on existing strengths and great ideas while developing new resources to share.  

Engage with our shared customers and stakeholders to share our work and incorporate their insights.

Work with local and culturally specific partners to improve and assure access and equity.

Build a unified voice through shared communications, training and support to foster consistent practices and messages for all stakeholders.

Support families in setting a positive trajectory for employment and independence for their child.

Incorporate person-centered tools and practices to help create a common language and experience for our shared customers.

The E1MN youth partnership is focused on improving employment outcomes for transition-age youth (ages 14 to 21). Our work will enable youth and families to start from a young age in setting a positive trajectory for employment and independence.

To learn more about the E1MN youth partnership, check out this overview of current and ongoing efforts (PDF).

To receive announcements related to supporting transition services, pre-employment transition services (pre-ETS) and competitive integrated employment (CIE) outcomes for youth with disabilities, sign up for the E1MN Youth Professionals mail list.

  • Waiver and VR services: DHS and DEED are partnering through a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to align our systems, create redesigned services and processes, and provide training to stakeholders. These changes will ensure that people receiving waiver services seeking competitive integrated employment can get seamless and timely supports to meet their employment goals.  
  • Pre-ETS: MDE and DEED are partnering through an MOU to provide transition services and Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) for students with disabilities. For example, MDE and DEED-VRS/SSB are strengthening and aligning Pre-ETS and transition services through a state level framework that will guide education agencies and VR staff at the local level. Agency and local partners are piloting new approaches to Pre-ETS and sharing information. Furthermore, MDE and DEED-VRS/SSB are working together on efforts to increase the availability of Pre-ETS through school work-based learning programming.  
  • Project SEARCH: DEED, DHS and MDE partner with implementing Project SEARCH, an evidence-based internationally recognized employer-driven model. The Project SEARCH High School Transition Program model is for students with developmental disabilities in their last year of high school eligibility  
  • Work-based learning frameworks: MDE, with support from DEED and local education agencies, have created frameworks for work-based learning courses that support all students, including those in special education. The frameworks provide a clear pathway for students that are in alignment with Minnesota’s career fields, postsecondary requirements, industry needs and Pre-Employment Transition Services. Instructional resources that support the implementation of the developed frameworks are identified.

The Employment Capacity Building Cohort (ECBC) is connecting school district, VRS/SSB and county staff across the state to support competitive integrated employment (CIE) for transition age youth. Community teams set CIE goals and receive training, resources and technical assistance in one of four focus areas: 

  • High-quality transition programming 
  • Family engagement 
  • Business engagement  
  • Embedding customized employment into school transition programming 
  • Outcome measures: Through participating in Capacity Building Virtual Institute, hosted by the National Technical Assistance Center on Transition, MDE, DEED and DHS are identifying youth-related data sources and metrics from relevant agencies. We will use these measures to identify improvements and share results of our work.  
  • Transparency and accountability: DHS published Employment First Dashboards that provide employment outcome information for Minnesotans ages 16 to 64 years, who receive Medicaid home and community-based waiver services, mental health services, or participate in the Medical Assistance for Employed Persons with Disabilities (MA-EPD) program at statewide, county and service provider levels. These dashboards provide data to inform state policy as well as a resource for people and their support teams in choosing employment services.  
  • Dual enrolled providers: DEED and DHS are working to align services by encouraging current employment service providers who are only enrolled in one of their programs (Medicaid, VRS or SSB) to become dually enrolled providers in each program. Additionally, we are analyzing provider enrollment data to identify geographic and cultural gaps in service availability and ensure equitable access to services across communities in Minnesota.
  • Online tools and resources: DHS and DEED are developing online tools and resources to help support professionals across the state navigate our services and help people make informed choices about employment. These tools will help students experience more seamless and timely supports – during school and into adulthood.  
  • Transition framework: MDE with support from DEED and local education agencies are developing frameworks which support students receiving special education. The goal is to ensure there is a clear pathway and alignment with the general population of transition age youth.  
  • Disability Hub MN has a variety of resources for youth and professionals serving youth, including:  
  • Employment First Advisory Committee: Our interagency Employment First Advisory Committee is bringing together stakeholders and representatives from key organizations to guide the work of DHS and DEED as we implement the agreements in the MOU. 
  • PIPEinThe Professional Input Panel for Employment (PIPEin), hosted by DHS and DEED, is a volunteer group of professionals who want to provide feedback on our work to align our employment service systems and advance Minnesota’s Employment First efforts.

The E1MN Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) aligns the E1MN systems and provides employment services in a more coordinated way.

Throughout the design process, the agencies will gather stakeholder input to inform the development of the processes outlined in the MOU. This includes:

Interagency coordination
DHS-DSD and DEED-VRS/SSB have created an interagency steering committee to implement MOU agreements. Additionally, a stakeholder advisory committee and workgroups led by agency staff are informing the development of policies needed to implement the MOU.

Employment development services
DHS-DSD is clarifying the two phases of employment development services (supports to plan employment and supports to find employment) and the expected outcomes, as well as creating person-centered products to be used during the planning phase.

Referral process and customer flow
The agencies are developing a clear referral process between programs and clear eligibility requirements. They are also aligning services to allow for smoother transitions between programs.

Provider alignment
DHS-DSD and DEED-VRS/SSB are aligning our shared network of employment service providers to improve access to employment services and to support smoother transitions.

Service sequencing
DHS-DSD and DEED-VRS/SSB are clarifying the sequence of services for those in and out of school. For those in school, DEED-VRS/SSB and schools will provide supports through job stabilization, and DHS-DSD will provide ongoing supports outside of school hours. For those out of school, DEED-VRS/SSB will be the first payer for job development, placement and stabilization services, and DHS-DSD will be the first payer for job exploration services and ongoing supports to maintain employment.

DEED-VRS/SSB placement and retention payment structure
DEED-VRS/SSB is considering a new payment structure that is responsive to serving individuals with more intensive levels of service and support.

For details, see the full version (PDF) of the MOU.

Stakeholder input is a critical element of the collaborative planning process. Two workgroups comprised of interagency state-level staff are carrying out key work to align our systems and fulfill our MOU agreements. These workgroups are focused on aligning services and transitions and aligning service provider networks. Below are some of the key accomplishments of each workgroup.

Training workgroups
Monthly activity updates

March 2021

  • Training workgroup: The internal training workgroup finalized content and training concepts for the E1MN Core Trainings in late April/early May. The name of the trainings was changed from E1MN MOU Kick-off training to E1MN Core Training based on feedback from the E1MN Interagency Employment First Advisory Committee.
  • Communication: An E1MN communication was sent on March 24, 2021. It announced the E1MN Core Training information.
  • Information: An E1MN training and events web page was created to share information on upcoming trainings, coffee chats and other events.

February 2021

  • Training workgroup: The internal training workgroup worked on developing the content and framework for the E1MN MOU kick-off trainings in late April and early May. These trainings will be for VRS/SSB staff, Lead Agency staff, case managers, and employment service providers (both 245D and P/T contract holders). Dates have been selected and a save-the-date announcement will be sent in early March.

January 2021

  • Training workgroup: The internal training workgroup began work in January. Key areas of work: training curriculum content, planning for adult learning styles, sequencing of training, and best methods to deliver training.

Aligning services and service transitions
Monthly activity updates

January 2021

  • Training workgroup: The internal training workgroup began work in January. Key areas of work: training curriculum content, planning for adult learning styles, sequencing of training, and best methods to deliver training.

December 2020

  • Held a kickoff meeting with the contractor who has been secured to help us plan, create, and execute statewide training for all key stakeholders on the implementation of the MOU agreements between DHS and DEED. This initial meeting began to lay the groundwork for the following training considerations: overall topic structure, audience, schedule, and training objectives.

November 2020

  • Clarifying of waiver services: Began developing a strategy pivot in use of waiver services that leverages employment development services to support "employment planning." This strategy entails aligning waiver employment services to an "explore, plan, find, keep" framework.
  • Transitioned staff working group: As services and transition work has evolved from design to implementation planning, we wrapped up regular meetings of the interagency staff level working group assisting with aligning services and transitions. This workgroup will continue to inform work as needed in an ad hoc fashion.
  • Started training plan: Secured a contractor to assist with designing, developing, delivering, and supporting initial and ongoing training for the July 2021 implementation of MOU agreements.

October 2020

  • Continued drafting process map for students: Continued developing a process for may for students, addressing supports during a work experience, during graduation from school, and as a student begins transition planning.
  • Developed common referral procedures between waiver and VR services: Developed common referral process for waiver case managers when referring to VRS/SSB and for VRS/SSB counselors when referring to waiver services for ongoing supports.
  • Continued work on September activities: Made progress on areas of work started in September, including engaging a contractor to continue developing online tools and exploring training needs and strategies.

September 2020

  • Continued work on tools and resources for service alignment: Continued to develop a roles and responsibilities desk aid and a process map for students.
  • Began exploring training needs and strategies: Started comprising a list of training needs by audience for aligning employment supports systems.
  • Began developing online tools: Started designing and developing online tools to support service transitions and information sharing across a person's employment team.

August 2020

  • Drafted roles and responsibilities and a process map for people out of school receiving waiver and VRS/SSB: Finished documenting the roles and responsibilities of waiver case managers, service providers and VRS/SSB staff, and created a process map of service transitions between programs.
  • Drafted roles and responsibilities desk aid: Created a desk aid tool explaining roles and responsibilities of different support professionals in a person's employment path.
  • Drafted templates for exploration deliverables and submitted for online development: Developed templates for the outcomes of the exploration service (including a personal profile, resume, sample application and benefits lookup) and submitted to web developers.
  • Started creating process map for students: Began creating a process map for coordinating employment services between school staff, VRS/SSB and waiver services for students with disabilities.

July 2020

  • Created revised employment exploration services description: Developed a definition of the revised waiver employment exploration service.
  • Drafted exploration deliverables: Developed expected deliverables from the waiver employment exploration service including personal profile, resume templates (functional, visual and chronological), sample application and benefit lookup. The benefit lookup was already created.
  • Created an out of school process map: Completed a map of the process for a person who is out of school, is on a waiver and is seeking competitive integrated employment. We are now working on developing an in-school process map.
  • Drafted roles and responsibilities: Started documenting the roles and responsibilities of a person who is out of school, is on a waiver and is seeking competitive integrated employment, as well as each team member.

Aligning service provider networks
Monthly activity updates

March 2021

  • Webinar preparation: The internal provider alignment workgroup planned and finalized the content needed to share with providers on becoming a dual provider with DHS and DEED-VRS/SSB.
  • Communication: An E1MN communication was sent on March 24, 2021 announcing the Benefits of Becoming Both 245D and VRS/SSB Service Provider webinar on April 8, 2021.
  • Development provider outreach: Conducted outreach to currently enrolled employment development service providers to encourage dual enrollment with waiver and VRS/SSB programs.

February 2021

  • Communication of activities: Included initial communications encouraging dual enrollment in a second E1MN memo released on February 24, 2021.
  • Enrollment technical assistance: Developed a strategy to provide technical assistance for currently enrolled service providers with VRS/SSB in becoming 245d licensed to provide waiver employment services.
  • Outreach planning: Planned communication activities to begin in March. These activities include hosting a webinar encouraging and outlining the steps for dual enrollment and targeted outreach to current employment development service providers.
  • Implementation measures: Developed draft metrics and goals to track progress in developing a larger network of dually enrolled employment service providers.

January 2021

  • Outreach planning and initial findings review: Began planning communications including targeted outreach and a public webinar to encourage dual enrollment of employment service providers. Reviewed and responded to learnings and questions raised during initial research.

December 2020

  • Validated dashboard data and began using: Reviewed dashboard data and resolved provider naming convention inconsistencies across programs. Began analyzing dashboard data to inform provider alignment efforts.
  • Contractor began initial research and planning: STAR services began researching for provider alignment efforts through interviewing state agency staff and service providers. Began developing a more detailed work plan.

November 2020

  • Kickoff meeting with contractor: Star Services (contractor) met with interagency provider alignment workgroup to review work plan and implementation of activities, tasks, and outcomes. Star Services began research on DHS licensing/DEED-VRS/SSB contracting requirements and started planning key stakeholder interviews.

October 2020

  • Dual enrollment strategies: Began working with a contractor to help create, develop, and implement strategies that will help inform and encourage dual enrollment among providers statewide.
  • Draft dashboard: Revised and refined the dashboard of geographic locations of VRS/SSB and waiver employment service providers by validating data, ensuring accuracy of provider information, and testing usability of tool.

September 2020

  • Developed draft dashboard: Developed a dashboard that maps the geographic locations of VRS/SSB and waiver employment service providers across the state. This will be used to conduct a geographic analysis of service gaps.

August 2020

  • Created talking points: Developed draft talking points regarding the benefits and processes to become a dually enrolled employment service provider with waiver (245D licensed) and DEED-VRS/SSB.
  • Developed dual enrollment strategies: Developed potential strategies to encourage dual enrollment of existing service providers, including conducting regionally based webinars outlining benefits of dual enrollment and steps to becoming dually enrolled.
  • Gathered information for geographic gaps analysis: Conducted a survey of DEED-VRS/SSB providers to identify local area offices where employment services are offered. This data is being used in conjunction with data on waiver employment service provider locations to identify geographic disparities in service availability.

July 2020

  • Created interagency staff working group: Started a service provider alignment working group comprised of DHS and DEED-VRS/SSB staff. The working group is looking at provider alignment strategies, identifying and addressing service availability gaps, developing communication strategies to encourage dual enrollment.
  • Increased LUV Limit: VRS raised the maximum budget cap for Limited Use Vendors (LUV) that are registered with the Minnesota Secretary of State as of July 1, 2020. The new cap will be $100,000 per year, or $200,000 every two years with VRS with a Professional and Technical (P/T) Services Master Contract. This change gives service providers currently enrolled to provide waiver employment services a larger opportunity to "try out" providing VRS.

The Engage | Plan | Find | Keep framework (PDF) shows how waiver employment services and supports through Vocational Rehabilitation Services/State Services for the Blind support people at different stages of their path to employment. The framework was developed by the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development and the Minnesota Department of Human Services.

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