15 episodes

Conversations powered by VR. One Manager at a time. One Minute at a time.

Manager Minute-brought to you by the VR Technical Assistance Center for Quality Management VRTAC-QM Team

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Conversations powered by VR. One Manager at a time. One Minute at a time.

    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Everything is Bigger in Texas- Learn How Texas Leverages SSA Reimbursement

    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Everything is Bigger in Texas- Learn How Texas Leverages SSA Reimbursement

    Welcome to the 15th episode of the Manager Minute. Joining Carol Pankow in the studio today is Cheryl Fuller, VR Division Director with the Texas Workforce Commission and also incoming CSAVR President. Today we will talk about Social Security's VR Cost Reimbursement program, which was authorized in 1981. The purpose of that program is to make State VR services more readily available to SSA beneficiaries with disabilities and to generate savings for the Social Security Trust Fund for SSDI beneficiaries and the General Revenue Fund for SSI recipients.
     
    Learn how the Texas Workforce Commission uses technology and staff to maximize and track Social Security Reimbursements to help support their programs.
     
    Listen Here
    You can find out more about VRTAC-QM on the web at:
    https://www.vrtac-qm.org/
     
     Full Transcript
     
    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Everything is Bigger in Texas- Learn How Texas Leverages SSA Reimbursement
     
    {Music}
     
    Speaker: Manager Minute brought to you by the VRTAC for Quality Management. Conversations powered by VR, one manager at a time, one minute at a time. Here is your host, Carol Pankow.
     
    Carol: Welcome to the manager minute. I am so fortunate to have Cheryl Fuller, V.R. Division Director with the Texas Workforce Commission and also incoming CSAVR president, joining me in the studio today. And Cheryl, there certainly have been some very tragic things happening in your state and most recently the Uvalde School shooting. And my thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected. I know VR is typically filled with people with a lot of heart. We're kind of people people. So in light of all that's happening, how are you and your staff holding up?
     
    Cheryl: First of all, thank you for thinking about us. This is something very much at the forefront of our minds and it's really on our hearts. And we have a field office in Uvalde about a block and a half from the school. And so it's a small community. Our staff knows everyone. I grew up in a small town myself, and I know just how wonderful it is to grow up in a small town with the support and the relationships, and that will be important for them going forward. And our agency, along with other agencies, immediately looked at what we can do, how can we help our community? Because it is our community. And we're looking at a couple of things. We're looking at some group skills training later this summer to help some of our students get ready to go back to school. And how can we do that? How can we help them think about going back to school and process that and think about some positive things that they look forward to about why they're in school, their career and growing up and getting ready to transition. And of course, we know adults also may need us. So we're redoubling our efforts to make sure that our community knows that our services are there to help them. If a few months from now they begin to have conditions that are preventing them from keeping their job. We're here to help, and we know that if we all do what we can, we will help our community work through this.
     
    Carol: Well, I'm really glad you're at the helm because you bring that heart to it. That has just broken my heart. I'm thinking about you all. I'm praying for you guys every day. And I'm glad you're in that leadership role there to bring that to your staff and to your customers and that thought and thinking ahead for the next school year. That is so smart, so wise.
     
    Cheryl: Well, that's our staff on the ground and it's our agency executive director. We're so fortunate to have an executive director that cares very much about our division, our programs, our customers and our staff, and was on the ground meeting with our staff and immediately asking what we can do and helping us be creative in thinking how can we help? We can do more. And so we're really fortunate to have.
     
    Carol: I love that. That is so great to hear. Cheryl, I've known you since you started at the a

    • 29 min
    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Putting Customers First-How Utah Makes Rapid Engagement Work!

    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Putting Customers First-How Utah Makes Rapid Engagement Work!

    Aaron Thompson, Assistant Division Director for the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, joins Carol Pankow on this 14th episode of Manager Minute to talk about how Utah is making rapid engagement work. Carol has discussed this on two previous podcasts; however, each VR agency has tackled this differently. It is intriguing and exciting to hear about how different VR programs are confronting the dilemma facing VR on declining applications and consumer engagement. 
    Learn about Utah's “Back to Basics” approach, how they implemented this approach and how they involve their counselors and customers.
    From Utah's unique Performance Dashboards and Blueprint Systems, there is so much to learn about how Utah is making rapid engagement work.
    Listen Here
    You can find out more about VRTAC-QM on the web at:
    https://www.vrtac-qm.org/
     
    Full Transcript
     
    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Putting Customers First-How Utah Makes Rapid Engagement Work!
     
    {Music}
     
    Speaker1: Manager Minute brought to you by the VRTAC for Quality Management. Conversations powered by VR, one manager at a time, one minute at a time. Here is your host, Carol Pankow.
     
    Carol: Well, welcome to the manager minute. I am so fortunate to have Aaron Thompson, assistant division director for the Utah State Office of Rehabilitation, joining me in the studio today. So, Aaron, how are things going in Utah?
     
    Aaron: Well, first, thank you for having me. And things are going pretty well in Utah. I think we're spending a lot of focus. We're going to be talking about getting back to basics and really kicking off a lot of the initiatives that we have in the works.
     
    Carol: Cool. Good to hear. I can't wait to get into it. So, Aaron, I know you've been with the agency for over 17 years. You've held a variety of positions from counselor to supervisor to district director, field services director to where you are today. And I know you've seen and done a lot in your career, which really leads us to this very important topic we're going to discuss today. The idea is really called rapid engagement, and I know I've discussed this on two previous podcasts. However, each VR agency has tackled this in a different way, which is super intriguing and exciting when tackling this dilemma that's facing VR on declining applications and declining eligibility. So VR is a program where we're over 100 years old now, and with all the longstanding programs, there can be a tendency to layer on additional policies and processes until we get buried under a bureaucracy of our own making. So when we visited back in March, I was really energized about the approaches you've taken in Utah and hoped our listeners would feel the same energy and enthusiasm as they hear the Utah story. Your director, Sarah Brenna, also briefly spoke about the efforts in Utah and the efforts around rapid engagement during the CSA VR conference. So I'm excited to explore this further and let's dig in. So Aaron, can you give the listeners a little background about the Utah program, like how many customers you serve, how many staff you have, and how the pandemic has influenced your numbers of applicants and individuals being served in the program?
     
    Aaron: Certainly I appreciate the overview of the resumé and all the details. I've had a fun opportunity to move into a few different positions, but within us two are something that I think is interesting, is like we're one of the first five state VR programs as the program nationally was celebrating its 100th anniversary. That was also our anniversary that year. So we have a really unique position as being one of the flagship state agencies for people with disabilities. And we're a combined program, but we also have different specialized programs for people who are blind, visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing. We also handle the Social Security disability determination and also we oversee the independent living contracts. But we're the VR program at ou

    • 24 min
    Work Incentives Counseling---Finding the incentive to engage in work incentives counseling with Virginia DARS!

    Work Incentives Counseling---Finding the incentive to engage in work incentives counseling with Virginia DARS!

    In the Manager Minute Studio today is David Leon, Director of Workforce Programs at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) along with host of the Manager Minute podcast, Carol Pankow.
    Find out how the projects David has led are shaping the approach that Virginia is taking in relation to work incentives counseling (benefits planning). What is the overall structure? Why did DARS see it as imperative to develop the capacity for work incentives counseling in Virginia beyond what is provided by the WIPA(Work Incentives Planning and Assistance)?
    Find out what resources and tools David is recommending and what advice he has for you.
     
    Listen Here
     
    Full Transcript
     
    Important Links
    Cities for Financial Empowerment https://cfefund.org/projects/  
    Consumer Financial Protection Bureau "Your Money Your Goals" and Focus on Disability - materials are free and may be        co branded https://www.consumerfinance.gov/consumer-tools/educator-tools/your-money-your-goals/  
    National Disability Institute https://www.nationaldisabilityinstitute.org/downloads/  
    FDIC Money Smart  https://www.fdic.gov/resources/consumers/money-smart/index.html  
    ·       Next Gen Personal Finance https://www.ngpf.org/
     
    You can find out more about VRTAC-QM on the web at:
    https://www.vrtac-qm.org/
     
    Full Transcript
     
    Work Incentives Counseling---Finding the incentive to engage in work incentives counseling with Virginia DARS!
     
    {Music}
    Speaker1: Manager Minute brought to you by the VRTAC for Quality Management. Conversations powered by VR, one manager at a time, one minute at a time. Here is your host, Carol Pankow.
     
    Carol: Well, welcome to the Manager Minute. I am so fortunate to have David Leon with me in the studio today. David's the director of workforce programs at the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services, or, as you all endearingly refer to it as DarS. So, David, how are things going at DarS?
     
    David: Excellent. Thank you for having me and thank you for asking.
     
    Carol: Well, I was doing a little LinkedIn research about you, and I see you have been with the agency for over 11 years, and you're really known as a powerhouse in the VR community with some super creative work, especially as it relates to the agency's goal of helping those populations that experience both disability and poverty. And I learned that Virginia Diaries was awarded one of the announced Disability Innovation Fund grants, and I would definitely like to hear more about that at a later date. So, I'm gathering that the projects you've led and continue to lead on behalf of DARS with support from your commissioner, Cathy Hayfield, have really helped shape the approach that Virginia is taking in relation to benefits planning. And on a side note, I saw you're also a recent graduate from George Washington University with your master's in VR counseling. I always have to give a plug. My employer, I really admire you for going back to school and accomplishing that.
     
    David: Thank you.
     
    Carol: So today we're going to tackle the topic of benefits planning and learn more about the success of Virginia DARS has experienced. Now, when I asked around about VR best practices, your name kept coming up over and over again. And I know many agencies do kind of a one and done with benefits planning. They get something on the plan, they kind of move on. And my understanding is that your agency has gone far beyond that. So, let's dig in. What is the overall benefits planning structure in your agency?
     
    David: Thank you, Carol. And let me start by saying anything we have been successful at here in Virginia is really based on our commissioner commitment to this work. The agencies buy into the value of this work in a systemic way, along with what we find as best practices from other agencies. I'm very proud of the work we do here in Virginia, and there are many other states with d

    • 38 min
    VRTAC-QM: Leveraging Employment First initiatives to improve consumer services across agencies in Colorado.

    VRTAC-QM: Leveraging Employment First initiatives to improve consumer services across agencies in Colorado.

    On this episode of Manager Minute, we are delighted to discuss Colorado’s Employment First initiative. On the panel, we have:
    Patricia Henke, Colorado Office of Employment First (COEF) Director Meghan Greene, CIE Manager, CO VR Katie Taliercio, Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing (HCPF); Colorado’s State Medicaid Agency Katie Oliver, Colorado Department of Education Cheryl Carver, Colorado VR They are involved with a very innovative and successful collaboration in Colorado pertaining to their Employment First initiative.  We believe it’s an outstanding model illustrating how multiple agencies can effectively partner in an Employment First initiative to serve their consumers better. We have the pleasure today to understand how this is working in Colorado, so you may be able to move in a similar direction.
     
    Here are some useful links discussed in the podcast:
    Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Colorado
    Colorado Office of Employment First
    Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Finance
    Colorado Sequence of Services for Students and Youth with Disabilities
     
    Listen Here
     
    You can find out more about VRTAC-QM on the web at:
    https://www.vrtac-qm.org/
     
    Please stay up to date by following VRTAC-QM on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @VRTAC_QM
     
    About VRTAC-QM
    Partnering with State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) to enhance service delivery and maximize outcomes through quality program and resource management.
    The purpose of the VRTAC-QM is to provide training and technical assistance that will enable State VR agency personnel to manage available resources, improve effective service delivery, and increase the number and quality of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The VRTAC-QM provides TA and training in VR program and performance quality management, fiscal and resource quality management of the VR program, and general quality management of organizations. You can request technical assistance from the VRTAC-QM by contacting your TA Liaison directly, contacting any member of the Center you wish, or by filling out the information on our main website and clicking on submit. While on the main website, join our mailing list to receive updates on training and new activities occurring within the Center.
     
     
    Full Transcript
     
    Leveraging Employment First initiatives to improve consumer services across agencies in Colorado.
     
    {Music}
    Speaker1: Manager Minute brought to you by the VRTAC for Quality Management. Conversations powered by VR, one manager at a time, one minute at a time. Here is your host, Carol Pankow.
     
    Carol: Well, we're delighted to have a whole crew from Colorado with us this morning in the studio. We have Patricia Henke Colorado Office of Employment First. Meghan Greene with Colorado VR. Cheryl Carver also with Colorado VR. Katie Taliercio, CEO with the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. And Katie Oliver, Colorado Department of Education. So welcome to you all. I appreciate you being in the studio today. These fine ladies are involved with a very innovative and successful collaboration in Colorado pertaining to their Employment First initiative. We believe it's an outstanding model, illustrating how multiple agencies can effectively partner with their Employment First initiative to better serve their customers. We have the pleasure today to understand how this is working in Colorado. So you may be able to move in a similar direction. So let's get a little background on Employment First. Employment First is really a framework for systems change that is centered on the premise that all citizens, including individuals with significant disabilities, are capable of full participation in integrated employment and community life. This national effort, formerly originated from the Office of Disability Employment Policy, when on August 8th 2018, they hosted 15 federal offices, including representat

    • 46 min
    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Get in and Get er’ Done! How Ohio Makes VR Work for Customers!

    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Get in and Get er’ Done! How Ohio Makes VR Work for Customers!

    Welcome to the Manager Minute. Joining Carol Pankow in the studio today is Susan Pugh, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation with the Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. Susan has worked within the agency in a variety of capacities including, VR Counselor, Assistant Area Manager, and Assistant Deputy Director.
     
    In this episode, Susan discusses Ohio’s rapid engagement process and the Lean approach that has reduced onboarding time and ushered in more customers. Susan and Carol cover a lot of the initiatives that Ohio has implemented to enable them to speed up the process so that customers are trained and employed as soon as possible.
     
    Listen Here
     
    Full Transcript
     
    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Get in and Get er’ Done! How Ohio Makes VR Work for Customers!
     
    {Music}
    Speaker1: Manager Minute brought to you by the VRTAC for Quality Management, Conversations powered by VR, one manager at a time, one minute at a time. Here is your host Carol Pankow.
     
    Carol: Welcome to the Manager, Minute. Joining me in the studio today is Susan Pugh, Deputy Director of the Bureau of Vocational Rehabilitation in the agency called Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities. Now that's a mouthful. Susan has worked within the agency in a variety of capacities, including VR counselor. She's been an assistant area manager and assistant deputy director. Susan, it's so great to have you here today. How are things going in Ohio?
     
    Susan: Things are great. I appreciate the opportunity to talk with you today.
     
    Carol: All right. Well, today's topic is covering this idea of rapid engagement and the idea behind that is getting customers in and moving as quickly as possible. So they are successful in your agency has been using that lean process to completely revamp many of your processes and procedures. And I know that private industry has successfully used Lean for many years to improve manufacturing processes. But I know sometimes it doesn't always translate over to VR because we don't make widgets, after all. But we do work with people, and I know VR often creates really complicated processes to help individuals move through the VR system. So when I was in Minnesota, our governor had brought forward the idea of using lean throughout state government with some pretty successful results. I remember our license bureau for when undergoing a huge overhaul and where it would take weeks and months to get license plates and get your license. They were able to get that down to a matter of days, and so that was excellent. I know we also had to have a lean coordinator in each of our agencies that would report up to the governor on a quarterly basis, and we really put a lot of effort into that and you were able to get exposed to this same concept through your agency director Kevin Miller. And I remember talking with you a little bit ago that you really done a lot to examine your agency's processes and practices so you can do more for individuals with disabilities. So let's chat about this. Can you talk to me a little bit about your introduction to Lean and how it works in your agency?
     
    Susan: Yes. Our director, Kevin Miller, joined O.D. back in January of 2011, and one of the first things that he did was establish a division of performance and innovation for the agency, and now that that division is called our Division of Employer and Innovation Services, and that deputy director was tasked with bringing lean into the organization. And like you mentioned in Minnesota, we have a lean Ohio office that provides all kinds of resources and support for state agencies who want to do this. So the way we kind of started out was members of executive team went to something that was called at the time, a champion training and where we learned and we were briefly exposed to all the different aspects of lean and learned how to champion lean processes within the organization. And after that, we started sending staff bec

    • 35 min
    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Get in and Get er’ Done! How California Makes VR Work for Customers!

    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Get in and Get er’ Done! How California Makes VR Work for Customers!

    Joining Carol Pankow in the VRTAC-QM Studio is Mark Erlichman, Deputy Director, Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Division, California Department of Rehabilitation. In this episode of Manager Minute, Mark covers the idea of Rapid Engagement. The idea behind it is to get customers in and move as quickly as possible to succeed. The California DORS Team has a variety of initiatives that they are working on. Mark and Carol will chat about a handful of those projects.
     
    Learn about California’s expedited enrollment process, resource navigators, and the sector-based service teams.
     
    Listen Here
     
    Full Transcript
     
    You can find out more about VRTAC-QM on the web at:
    https://www.vrtac-qm.org/
     
    Please stay up to date by following VRTAC-QM on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @VRTAC_QM
     
    About VRTAC-QM
    Partnering with State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) to enhance service delivery and maximize outcomes through quality program and resource management.
    The purpose of the VRTAC-QM is to provide training and technical assistance that will enable State VR agency personnel to manage available resources, improve effective service delivery, and increase the number and quality of employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. The VRTAC-QM provides TA and training in VR program and performance quality management, fiscal and resource quality management of the VR program, and general quality management of organizations. You can request technical assistance from the VRTAC-QM by contacting your TA Liaison directly, contacting any member of the Center you wish, or by filling out the information on our main websiteand clicking on submit. While on the main website, join our mailing list to receive updates on training and new activities occurring within the Center.
     
     
    Full Transcript
     
    VRTAC-QM Manager Minute: Get in and Get er’ Done! Making VR Processes Work How California Makes VR Work for Customers!
     
    Speaker1: Manager Minute brought to you by the VRTAAC for Quality Management, Conversations powered by VR, one manager at a time, one minute at a time. Here is your host Carol Pankow.
     
    Carol: Welcome to the manager minute, joining me in the studio today is Mark Erlichman, Deputy Director, Vocational Rehabilitation Employment Division with California Department of Rehabilitation. So Mark, thanks for being here. How are things going in California?
     
    Mark: Thank you so much for the invitation. Things in California are going about the same way they're going across the country. We're coping, we're managing, but I'm excited that we're continuing to look at improving. So in spite of the pandemic, we've been able to stay open and we've been able to sell, serve our consumers.
     
    Carol: Glad to hear it. I'm glad to hear that. Well, today's topic covers this idea of rapid engagement, and the idea behind that is to get customers in and move as quickly as possible to succeed. You'd spoken to me a couple of weeks ago about the saying you like to go by. Our customers are and must feel more important than the process. And I hear a lot of Joe Xavier in that statement and eager to talk more about the variety of initiatives that you have in California. I believe that you have a list of over 20 projects that you and the California DOR team are working on, and so we're going to just chat about a handful of those today. So Marc, can you tell our listeners a little bit more about you, your career, the agency, like how many customers you're serving?
     
    Mark: Sure, thank you. As you mentioned, I'm the deputy director and our employment division here. So we provide services to the general consumers when you have a blind field services division that worked with individual or blind, but we work with pretty much everybody else. And so in any given year, we probably serve somewhere between 80 to 90 thousand participants. So that includes our potentially eligible students with disabilities. So we have abou

    • 38 min

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