VR Employment supports Specialist/senior Specialist For The Blind 1

at State of Iowa
Published February 20, 2023
Location Des Moines, IA
Category Default  
Job Type Full-time  


This is a non-merit position with the Iowa Department for the Blind. Only applicants who meet the Minimum Qualification Requirements and Selective Requirements (listed below) will be placed on the eligible list.

The Department for the Blind (IDB) is seeking applicants for the position of DeafBlind Specialist. Domiciled in Des Moines - Remote work possible after completion of training period.  This position requires statewide travel to provide vocational rehabilitation services to clients who are DeafBlind and individuals who are blind and hard of hearing. In addition, this position will provide training and outreach to community rehabilitation partners and, education professionals and employers to ensure quality services and employment opportunities are provided to IDB clients. Ideal candidates will possess strong relationship, communication, organization and time management skills in addition to having solid documentation skills.

Duties and responsibilities to include the following areas:


* Communicate with expressive and receptive fluency in American Sign Language, as well as have the ability to communicate with deafblind individuals in their preferred mode of communication.
* Interpret and analyze assessment data to develop goals and activities for individual plans for employment.
* Provide pre-employment transition services including job exploration counseling, work-based learning opportunities, workplace readiness training, counseling opportunities for post-secondary educational programs, and instruction in self-advocacy/peer mentoring to students who are blind and deafblind.
* Provide consultation, technical assistance and training to educators, community rehabilitation providers, medical providers, counselors and employers statewide regarding the comprehensive needs of individuals who are deafblind. Develop relationships with employers statewide to assist individuals who are deafblind to explore careers and obtain, maintain and retain employment.
* Ability and means to travel up to 4 days per week within the state to meet with clients, educators, and other professionals and stakeholders to perform the work of this position.

Client Services

* Collaborate with VR counselors to identify the supports clients who are deafblind need to engage in successful and meaningful employment.
* Assess the communication, technology and vocational needs of individuals who are deafblind.
* Identify needed training that will allow the client to be more independent and successful in employment settings.
* Assist clients to identify and explain their qualifications, interests, strengths, and accommodation needs to their employer, co-workers, and services providers to facilitate job success.
* Assist in locating appropriate services and third-party funding, where applicable, in order to meet the unique needs of the client and facilitate the delivery of vocational rehabilitation services.
* Conduct work-site assessments and job analysis at clients' workplaces or potential workplaces across the state of Iowa in order to identify potential barriers and resources.

Capacity Building and Technical Assistance

* Advocate for the development of and equal access of services to individuals who are deafblind.
* Provide consultation and technical assistance to all programs and divisions of the agency regarding the comprehensive needs of individuals who are deafblind.
* Develop and/or conduct training on deafblindness for agency staff.
* Provide ongoing support and technical assistance to community rehabilitation providers.
* Review and interpret federal and state laws and regulations relevant to the education and vocational rehabilitation of individuals who are deafblind.
* Serve as IDB liaison with the Helen Keller National Center, the National Coalition on Deafblindness, and Iowa's Deafblind Project, as well as other agencies and organizations which provide services to individuals who are deafblind.
* Provide education and support to employers, which may include negotiating job accommodations and follow-along contact with the employer.

Caseload Management and Coordination:

* Participate in face-to-face meetings with vocational rehabilitation counselors at least once a month to coordinate services for clients who are deafblind.
* Schedule time to spend 55% or more of scheduled work hours in the community. For example, meets clients at community locations such as home, workplace, coffee shop, meeting with potential employers, library, One-Stop, VR office, family home, etc. or takes clients to apply for jobs, investigate local GED or colleges, etc.
* Document vocational rehabilitation services and provide written reports of assessment activities for the client VR case record.
* Research and develop community and employer contacts that help with appropriate job placements.
* Complete data/reporting pertaining to program measurements and submit reports to the VR program administrator.

It is the policy of the Department for the Blind to conduct background checks on all finalist candidates prior to any offer of employment.025: American Sign Language (ASL):

6 months' experience in the actual using of American Sign Language to translate messages to others, train and supervise other translators/interpreters, or educate others on the role of interpreters.


752: Vocational Rehabilitation:

6 months' experience, 12 semester hours, or a combination of both that specifically relates to employment and training services for individuals with disabilities. That knowledge base will include an awareness of the unique needs of this population, laws relating to discrimination or reasonable accommodations, assistive technology, and an understanding of employment and training systems and services, especially as provided in Iowa.Graduation from an accredited college or university with a degree in human service-oriented sciences, education, marketing or business and experience equal to three years of full time professional work;


the equivalent of three years of full-time experience as a rehabilitation counselor or teacher shall be considered as qualifying provided the employee has successfully completed training to meet the certification criteria established by the agency;


an equivalent combination of education and experience, substituting the equivalent of one year of full-time professional work experience for each year of the required education to a maximum substitution of four years.

For additional information, please click on this link to view the job description.