Valley Gives 2014, Where will you donate?

Valley Gives 2014, Where will you donate?.



This will be a short post as I want to turn your attention to something important.

Here in Connecticut we are a Community Rehab Provider (CRP) for the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS).  We also partner with the Department of Developmental Services (DDS)  and CT Works/DOL (Department of Labor).  There are acronyms for everything, I know.

It’s a lot to keep track of, but there is a great resource which NEBA uses that describes the wide range of services and providers available to the people of Connecticut. This website is:

Take a moment to see what this website has to offer. It has personal success stories, a Career Center, an informational section for potential employers for commonly asked questions regarding hiring people with disabilities, and much more.

Happy reading! 🙂

 Timothy Blonsky, Senior Employment Specialist, Connecticut

BRS Work Evaluations: Helping Without Hiring

Have you ever felt like you wanted to help someone in need so much, but just didn’t have the means to do so? Maybe it was a phone call from a charitable foundation looking for a donation, and bills need to be paid. Perhaps someone needs their car towed, but you don’t have a AAA membership to lend out. Sometimes, people want to help, but don’t think they can. This happens quite often when I am meeting employers in communities across Connecticut. So many employers recognize the talents and strengths of people with disabilities. Many of them want to help in some way, but due to budget constraints, slow business, etc., they find themselves in a tough spot. Thankfully, NEBA, in partnership with the Connecticut Bureau of Rehabilitation Services (BRS) is here as a resource for employers who want to help, but can’t hire.

BRS is a federally funded vocational rehabilitation program that is overseen by the Connecticut Department of Social Services (DSS). Funding is received from the US Department of Education, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services (OSERS). Most states have their own federally funded vocational rehabilitation programs (Massachusetts’ is the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC), with whom NEBA also partners), though the services given and terms used vary by state.

BRS uses work evaluations to help job seekers determine whether or not a chosen career path is an appropriate choice. They are also used for agencies like NEBA to determine whether or not a job seeker has the necessary skills to perform tasks efficiently and to an employer’s benefit. Evaluations typically last 40 hours and are completed within a two or three-week period. A NEBA job coach is present for all or most of the work evaluation (determined before the evaluation begins). At the end of the evaluation, employers are asked for feedback, which is put into a report completed by NEBA consultants and submitted to BRS. The job seeker is paid for the hours worked, but not by the employer! BRS pays NEBA the consumer’s wages, along with a premium to cover the job seeker’s liability and worker’s compensation, and the wages (equal to Connecticut’s minimum wage) are paid to the job seeker.

That’s right. Any employer offering to help a BRS job seeker complete a work evaluation gets:

    • 40 hours of work completed at their business
    • A NEBA job coach to assist with any issues that may arise
    • The great feeling of helping someone enter or re-enter the workforce
    • All wages, liability and worker’s compensation paid for

…and all at absolutely no out-of-pocket expense!

Sounds too good to be true, doesn’t it? I hear it all the time. It’s the real deal. NEBA and BRS confidently send job seekers to companies for work evaluations because many hours have been spent meeting with the job seeker, finding their interests, skills and talents, barriers and challenges, all before employers are even contacted. When I contact businesses to talk about work evaluations, I do so knowing that the job seeker will benefit that employer for the 40 hours they work for them.

Obviously, our ultimate goal at NEBA is to place job seekers in permanent positions on company payrolls. Work evaluations are a first step for BRS job seekers to showcase their skills, and are a great way for employers to get involved, especially those who want to help, but just can’t hire. Work evaluations are all about developing partnerships with businesses to help put people to work.

If you’re an employer in Connecticut who is interested in helping a job seeker with a work evaluation, feel free to contact us. Regional contacts are below:

Employers from other states may contact their respective state’s Department of Social Services for information on their state’s vocational rehabilitation programs and services.

-Ryan Aldrich, Senior Employment Consultant