Vocational Rehabilitation Services
Any individual with a physical, mental, cognitive, or other form of disability who has a substantial impediment to employment may qualify for the following services through the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS).
The mission of the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services is to enable eligible individuals with disabilities to achieve an employment outcome consistent with their strengths, priorities, needs, abilities, and capabilities.
- Vocational counseling, guidance, and referral: VR counselors provide career counseling and coordinate services to ensure that consumers in need of services are aware of all options available to help them to meet their vocational goals.
- Job search skill development: VR counselors provide guidance in work-search activities, such as searching for employment, resume writing, interviewing, and business etiquette.
- Placement services: Through one-on-one support, consumers are assisted with job leads and receive support during the job search. Depending on the consumer’s needs, placement services may include interviewing skills training, soft skills training, on-the-job training (OJT), supported employment (SE), or time-limited job coaching (TLJC).
- Pre-Placement / Placement Services: Pre-placement / placement occurs when a consumer requires assistance in the job search and job placement process. Consumers receive one-on-one assistance from a job coach to develop job search and interviewing skills, obtain job leads, and receive support during their job search. Activities may include career exploration, job shadowing/sampling, situational assessment, job preparation, job development, and job match placement, in which a job coach assists the consumer in securing competitive integrated employment.
- Time-Limited Job Coaching (TLJC): TLJC is provided when a consumer needs one-on-one assistance from a job coach to learn job duties and other routines, as well as support in adjusting the job in order to achieve job stabilization. The consumer will not require extended services and is basically independent thereafter.
- Supported Employment (SE): SE is used when a consumer requires one-on-one assistance from a job coach to learn job duties and other routines, assist with job adjustments, and implement interventions to overcome barriers in order to meet job requirements. SE is intended for consumers who are projected to require intensive job coaching for an extended period of time, possibly for the duration that the individual holds the position. SE often leads to “Long-Term Follow-Along” (LTFA) services, which provide ongoing follow-up to help ensure that the individual retains their job. For more information, refer to the SE and Specialized Services Manual here.
- Long-Term Follow-Along (LTFA): LTFA is the extended supports phase of SE and is designed to assist consumers with long-term job goals. Job coaches will periodically meet one-on-one with the consumer (generally twice per month) to provide supports as needed in order to ensure ongoing employment.
- Community Based Work Evaluation (CBWE): CBWE determines if a particular job is appropriate for a consumer as well as the supports needed to assist the consumer in maintaining employment. CBWE is used for vocational planning purposes to determine a consumer's skill level, behaviors, interests, abilities, strengths, barriers, and aptitudes in relation to employment. CBWE occurs one-on-one and is done in an employment setting with the highest level of integration possible. Consumers who have limited or intermittent work experience, and those who have never worked outside of a sheltered environment, often benefit from this service.
- Customized Employment (CE): CE helps consumers identify one primary vocational interest that will lead to the development of an individualized plan for employment. CE can include carving-out or creating a new position, modifying a current position, or reassigning a task. It can also include self-employment. Services occur in the consumer’s home, in the community, or in competitive-integrated employment settings.
- Trial Work Experience (TWE): TWE is used when a consumer has expressed a desire to work in community integrated employment and the Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor has doubts regarding the consumer’s ability to benefit from vocational rehabilitation services. It is NOT used to determine if a specific job is appropriate for a consumer. TWE occurs one-on-one and involves the job coach arranging for and monitoring work experiences in multiple and various community integrated work settings. Consumers who have limited or intermittent work experience, those who have never worked outside of a sheltered environment, those who have significant impairments, and consumers ages 24 and under who have exited secondary school often benefit from this service.
- Internship Development and Supports (IDS): IDS assists consumers in gaining practical work experiences in their career area(s) of interest. The service enhances one’s marketability, increases their professional network, links consumers to employers, and provides career-related information. Consumers who have exited secondary school and have no, limited, or intermittent work experience, as well as those who are developing their career pathway, often benefit from this service. Consumers do not need to be enrolled in a post-secondary education program to utilize this service.
- Assistive technology (AT) evaluations: Upon results of AT evaluation, equipment and training needs will be determined.
- Diagnostic evaluations: Evaluate medical, psychiatric, physiatric, psychological, neurological, or physical barriers to employment to determine eligibility. Evaluations may also be done to determine the consumer's needs throughout the rehabilitation process and to provide restorative and accommodation services.
- Emotional restoration services: Short-term individual, group, or other counseling to reduce mental health and emotional problems and improve work tolerance and the consumer’s ability to get and keep a job.
- Physical restoration: Satisfies the consumer’s equipment or therapeutic service needs so that the concumer is able to work. The service addresses physical, occupational, speech therapy, or cognitive therapy needs. Physical restoration can include helping the consumer obtain prosthetics or orthotics, such as artificial limbs, braces, special shoes, hearing aids, and eyeglasses (in some instances).
Pre-ETS offer students with disabilities an early start at career exploration and preparation for adult life. Beginning at age 14, students with disabilities can connect with DVRS for Pre-ETS. DVRS works with students, their families, their schools, and community partners to enrich transition planning and support students in gaining knowledge and experiences necessary for making informed decisions about one’s future. DVRS counselors from each field office are assigned to secondary schools to function as the liaison between the school and DVRS. Our counselors collaborate with child study teams and other school personnel regarding student transition plans, as well as to offer in-service trainings to school staff, students, and parents.
Out-of-School Youth Employment Services (OSYES) help out-of-school and unemployed youth and young adults, ages 16 to 24, get back on the path to self-sufficiency through the development of job skills and career pathway planning.
- Benefits counseling: Consumers who are recipients of SSD/SSI benefits may be referred for Work Incentive Planning and Assistance counseling (WIPA) to determine how working may affect their benefits.
- Financial needs assessments: Many of the services provided by DVRS are at no cost to the consumer. DVRS conducts a financial needs assessment to determine if an individual is meeting the financial criteria for cost services.
- DVRS provides "Cost” and "No Cost" services.
- Examples of "No Cost" services:
- vocational counseling and guidance
- job search and placement assistance
- job coaching
- long-term follow-along services
- diagnostic evaluations
- services for the Deaf
- out of school youth employment services
- Examples of “Cost” Services:
- funding for postsecondary education
- technical skills training
- vehicle and home modification
- hearing aid purchases
- assistive technology devices
- Examples of "No Cost" services:
- DVRS provides "Cost” and "No Cost" services.
Benefits Counseling Services are provided by certified community work incentive coordinators (CWICs) to help Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) beneficiaries and recipients make informed decisions about how employment may affect their benefit status.
To learn more about these services, click here.
Some of the services as coordinated through DVRS may include but are not limited to:
- Job accommodations: Accommodations or equipment and assistive technology provision that allow a consumer to do work tasks more independently, effectively, and safely.
- Mobility equipment: Referrals for evaluation to determine mobility needs and coordination to get recommended equipment/assistive technology for employment.
- Vehicle modifications: Car and van equipment modifications and adaptions for employment purpose.
- College training: Support for participating in a post-secondary program leading to a degree. Funding may include tuition, fees, books, supplies, room and board, assistive technology, interpreting services or CART services for the Deaf, and support services, depending on need and financial eligibility.
- Driver training: Helps consumers purchase driver training lessons if the lessons are needed for work purposes.
- Skills training: Vocational school, technology or trade school, and business school training. A list of eligible training programs can be found here.
The Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) provides specialized services for our consumers who are deaf and hard of hearing. We employ Deaf Language Specialists, also known as Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf, to cover all 21 counties. These specialists provide direct vocational counseling to DVRS clients whose primary language is American Sign Language (ASL). DVRS contracts with supported employment agencies who have staff proficient in ASL to assist with job readiness skills, job placement, job coaching, and long-term follow-along services, if needed.
In addition, DVRS funds three Regional Centers for People who are Deaf and Hard of Hearing. These centers offer vocational assessments, job readiness skills, job search support, job coaching, and pre-employment transition services for students in school as well as out of school youth. Each center houses a demonstration center with various assistive technology that may support an individual at their place of employment.
To learn more about Deaf and Hard of Hearing Services, click here.
DVRS employs vocational counselors who are bilingual Spanish-speaking. DVRS also provides interpretation services to assist communication between clients and DVRS staff.
Project SEARCH is a unique, business led, school-to-work vocational training and internship program that takes place entirely at a workplace. The program typically serves high school students over the course of their last year of school who have an Individualized Education Program (IEP); however, the program has also served out-of-school youth and young adults.
Project SEARCH Sites:
- Bergen County: Bergen County Workforce Development Board
- Burlington County: Lenape Schools/TDBank
- Camden County: Y.A.L.E. School/Jefferson Health
Sussex County: Sussex County Educational Services Commission and Newton Hospital
- Passaic County: Banyan High School
- Union County: Union County Educational Services/Overlook Hospital
For Project SEARCH inquiries, please contact us at DVRSProjectSearch@dol.nj.gov.
Further information regarding Project SEARCH can be found here.
60 State Street
Hackensack, New Jersey 07601-5471
Map and Directions
No Cost Services
Diagnostic evaluation, vocational counseling and guidance, job placement, supported employment services, on-the-job training, job coaching, pre-employment transition services, out of school youth employment services, and work adjustment training in a community rehabilitation program are services provided at no cost to the consumer.
Services with Cost
Examples of cost services include training, post-secondary education, books and supplies, tools and equipment, physical or mental restoration, and assistive technology. Cost services require a financial needs determination conducted by DVRS. This assessment is used to calculate the consumer’s financial participation.
Counselors are required to locate "comparable benefits," that is, identical services available from other sources.
DVRS cannot pay for services and costs an individual incurred prior to being determined eligible. Any service provided to a DVRS consumer must be listed on the individual’s Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). and the IPE must be signed by both the consumer and DVRS counselor.
DVRS records are confidential and will be used only for purposes directly connected with the administration of the vocational rehabilitation program. Information will be given out only with the consumer's written consent, if required by law, or for the safety and protection of the consumer or other individuals.
Individuals with a physical, mental, cognitive, or other form of disability that is a substantial impediment to employment may qualify for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services. The New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired (CBVI) provides VR services to individuals who are blind or have a significant visual impairment. More information about CBVI can be found here.
The consumer and vocational rehabilitation (VR) counselor jointly develop an Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE) that is goal oriented and based on the consumer's need for services leading to employment.
The core service provided by DVRS is vocational counseling and guidance. Examples of other services may include job placement, supported employment (SE), time-limited placement and coaching (TLJC), job accommodations, skills training, college training, physical and mental restoration, diagnostic evaluations, and assistive technology devices, among others. Any service provided must be in support of the consumer’s vocational goal and needed in order for the individual to obtain, maintain, or advance in employment.
DVRS counselors from each field office are assigned to secondary schools to function as the liaison between the schools and DVRS. Our counselors collaborate with child study teams and other school personnel in regard to students' transition plans and offer in-service trainings to school staff, students, and parents.
Students may apply to become a DVRS client at age 14 and receive Pre-Employment Transition Services. School districts typically make the referral to DVRS, although students of age or others on the student's behalf may do so as well. Learn more about the Steps in the DVRS Process.
Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS)
Students who are aged 14-21 and attending any secondary education program or are home schooled can receive Pre-Employment Transition Services. These are 5 distinct services aimed at preparing students for competitive integrated employment and/or post-secondary training opportunities. The 5 Pre-ETS services are: Job Exploration Counseling, Counseling on Post Secondary Employment Opportunities, Workplace Readiness Training, Self-Advocacy training and Work-Based Learning Experiences. These services are available to students who demonstrate a need for the services and students presumed eligible for Pre-Employment Transition Services. Local education agencies can also provide Pre-ETS to students. These services cannot be duplicated. Pre-Employment Transition Services do not require a formal application, but students have to be “known” to DVRS before services can begin.
Traditional Vocational Rehabilitation Services
After a student applies for services with DVRS, he or she is assigned to a DVRS vocational rehabilitation counselor who will determine if the student is eligible to receive services through DVRS. This eligibility determination is based on the student having a documented cognitive, mental, or physical impairment that poses a substantial barrier to employment. Once a student has become a consumer their assigned DVRS counselor will review any transition plans developed during school as part of their Individualized Education Program (IEP) to assist in DVRS planning.
The student and counselor will identify the student's vocational goal as well as services the student will need to be successful in their chosen field of employment. This will then become the student's Individualized Plan for Employment (IPE). The DVRS counselor will work with the student in implementing his or her IPE until such time that the student has found a job and has demonstrated the ability to maintain employment.
Many people get started with DVRS services through referrals from other agencies or their schools, but a referral is not required. If you want to investigate our services, you can refer yourself!
Complete the online referral form here.
NJ Department of Labor and Workforce Development
Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services
1 John Fitch Plaza, PO Box 398
Trenton, NJ 08625-0398
Toll Free Number: 1-866-871-7867