Self-Employment Through the VR Lens

The following seven-module series provides Vocational Rehabilitation counselors with information about their role in guiding the self-employment process. The series begins with two modules focused on the basics of self-employment; what it is and how a person becomes self-employed. The remaining modules in the series follow the VR service delivery model, addressing self-employment considerations at every stage.

The goal of this series is to build a VR professional's confidence in working with individuals pursuing self-employment and provide practical information, tools, and examples. Counselors are encouraged to complete all seven modules in the series but have the option to complete the ones they need the most.

Module 1: Introduction to Self-Employment for VR

This module introduces the option of self-employment for people with disabilities. The module provides learners with basic information about self-employment including definitions, benefits, and factors that lead to success. The module will wrap up by addressing the role of VR in supporting this mainstream path to employment.

Estimated time to complete: 1 hour.

Learning Objectives

  1. Define self-employment
  2. List four benefits of self-employment
  3. Name three factors that lead to successful self-employment

Module 2: The Steps of Self-Employment

This module provides an overview of the steps to become self-employed and the common community resources that can support a person pursuing self-employment. The module wraps up with an overview of how the steps of self-employment fit into the VR service model and the VR counselor's role with self-employment.

Estimated time to complete: 1 hour.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the five steps in the self-employment process
  2. List three common community resources that support a person with self-employment
  3. Describe how the steps of self-employment fit into the VR service model

Module 3: Intake and Eligibility

This module focuses on conversations about self-employment that may arise in initial or early meetings with VR customers. Additionally, this module will address the impact of bias on a VR customer's access to self-employment support and strategies VR counselors can use to manage bias.

Estimated time to complete: 1 hour.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe how the intake and eligibility process differs with a self-employment goal
  2. Explain the types of bias that can affect a VR professional's actions related to the self-employment option
  3. Name three strategies VR staff can use to minimize self-employment bias
  4. Explain the self-employment process and resources

Module 4: IPE Development

This module explains where and how self-employment fits into the standard IPE development process. Participants will learn bias-free strategies for identifying self-employment ideas, exploring self-employment ideas, and providing counseling and guidance to determine if self-employment could be a good fit. Additionally, participants will learn strategies for writing an IPE that supports a self-employment goal and the common self-employment services.

Estimated time to complete: 1 hour.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe the differences in IPE development with a self-employment goal
  2. Identify a potential self-employment goal
  3. Discussself-employment considerations
  4. Identify services and supports for each step in the self-employment process
  5. Write an IPE for a prospective business owner based on their current self-employment step

Module 5: Service Delivery Part I

This module explains how the first two steps in the self-employment process, Business Concept Development and Business Feasibility, fit into VR Service Delivery. Participants will learn strategies for monitoring a VR customer’s progress through these two steps, as well as strategies for providing counseling and guidance as new information about the business idea is gathered. Additionally, participants will learn a bias-free approach to determine if a self-employment goal is feasible.

Estimated time to complete: 1 hour.

Learning Objectives

  1. Identify the difference during Service Delivery with self-employment
  2. Describe strategies for monitoring business concept development
  3. Describe strategies for monitoring the business feasibility step
  4. Use the three-legged approach to determine if a self-employment goal is feasible
  5. List counseling strategies to use when a self-employment goal does not appear viable

Module 6: Service Delivery Part II

This module explains how steps three and four in the self-employment process, Business Planning and Business Launch, fit into VR Service Delivery. Participants will learn strategies for supporting and monitoring a VR customers progress during Business Planning, and strategies for providing counseling and guidance. Additionally, participants will learn strategies for amending an IPE to support the launch of a business.

Estimated time to complete: 1 hour.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe strategies for monitoring business plan development
  2. Use a business plan to identify support a prospective business owner needs to achieve a self-employment goal
  3. Identify VR service categories that support a self-employment goal
  4. List example conditions for self-employment case closure
  5. Develop or amend the IPE to include all services or supports a PBO will need to achieve a self-employment goal

Module 7: Employment Stability and Case Closure

This module provides participants with strategies for supporting and monitoring a VR customer's progress once the business is launched, and identifying when conditions for case closure have been met. Additionally, participants will learn strategies for providing counseling and guidance during the stabilization period and transitioning the new business owner to long-term supports, both formal and informal.

Estimated time to complete: 1 hour.

Learning Objectives

  1. Describe strategies for monitoring business launch
  2. Determine when conditions of self-employment case closure are met
  3. Define competitive integrated employment for self-employment cases
  4. Explain post-employment services for self-employment cases