People in the engage phase aren't sure they want to work and need help making an informed choice.
Waiver employment exploration services help a person learn about competitive integrated employment, gain work experience and make decisions about their employment path. For a complete list of covered services, limitations and more, see the community-based services manual.
Expected outcomes from the engage phase include:
By the end of the engage phase, the person makes an informed choice about competitive integrated employment.
To make an informed choice, the person must:
Waiver employment exploration services can help people get the information, answers and first-hand experiences they need to help them determine if competitive integrated employment is right for them.
To make an informed choice, the person needs to know what benefits they're getting and general information about how benefits support work. They also need to know about helpful tools and resources if they decide to move to the next phase.
Encourage people to:
Exploration activities and experiences strengthen a person's knowledge and help them define their interests and preferences so they can make an informed choice about competitive integrated employment. Employment exploration service activities include:
For a complete list of covered services, see the community-based services manual.
Dually enrolled providers (who provide both waiver employment and VRS/SSB services) offer a more seamless transition to future phases. It's important to help people understand their provider options and make an informed choice about which provider is best for them.
See a list of dually enrolled providers at MinnesotaHelp.info. Or, do your own search for a targeted list of dually enrolled providers:
Informed choice means the person:
Professionals supporting people with disabilities must ensure informed choice. In the context of employment, historically people with disabilities were often placed in center-based work training or sheltered workshops that were not effective in moving people toward competitive integrated employment. These settings often isolated people from the community as well.
Professionals supporting people with disabilities in employment must work with the presumption that, with interest and the right support, people with disabilities can work in competitive integrated employment.
Because sheltered workshops have often been the expected trajectory, it's important that waiver case managers proactively ensure people know their options and have the opportunity to make an informed choice.
Waiver case managers must always offer the opportunity to work and earn a competitive wage before offering only day services through the waiver. Waiver case managers also have a responsibility to ensure informed choice even if the person participated in a section 511 Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) conversation with the Center for Independent Living (CIL).
If a person is paid less than minimum wage, at least once a year they'll be asked to participate in a conversation about their interest in competitive employment. These career counseling conversations are part of Section 511 of the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA). In Minnesota, the Centers for Independent Living (CILs) hold these conversations, including completion of a career counseling documentation form (PDF).
To learn more about these conversations, see this introductory video for WIOA Section 511 (10:01).
Even if someone has participated in WIOA conversations and said yes or no to competitive employment, they may still need to continue engaging in exploring employment or they may be ready to starting searching for a job. It's important to help the person connect to the right supports to help them reach their employment goals.
If the person has concerns about work, check out the supporting people section in the work toolkit for help engaging in conversations about work, connecting with supports and addressing common concerns.
If a person chooses a less integrated setting, the U.S. Department of Justice requires support planners to:
Minnesota statute requires public agencies to support informed choice for people on waivers. The informed choice process must include:
The informed choice toolkit can help you understand the informed choice standard and how to help people with disabilities live inclusive lives, including supported decision making tools.
Use Charting the LifeCourse tools to help people start exploring. They can learn more about themselves, set a vision for their best life (which might include work in the community), problem solve and build goals. As they're using the tools, it's important to help people see their options, understand available resources and supports, and see how work could be an option — even a solution to some of their problems.
Find all of these tools and more in the hands-on tools section of the work toolkit:
Once the person has made an informed choice about employment, help them move to the next phase.
If the person knows they want to work but remains unsure about where to work or what type of work to do, they're ready for the plan phase and would benefit from waiver employment development-plan phase services.
If they're ready to start looking for a job, they're ready for the find phase and need a referral to Vocational Rehabilitation.
If the person decides that employment isn't right for them at this time and other services make sense, that doesn't mean employment won't be an option in the future. It's important to continue having conversations about work.
Ensure that day, residential, transportation and independent living services wrap around a person's employment goals.
Consider key responsibilities for waiver case managers and employment service providers in the engage phase:
Are you supporting someone who's working at a terrific job? Have you had great collaboration with your local partners? We want to hear about it! Share success stores through the E1MN request form. Click share a success story under what best describes your inquiry. Your story will be shared with the E1MN interagency team, who may follow up to learn more or share the story with others around the state.