Vision: Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWRC) strives to be the preferred provider of comprehensive vocational rehabilitation for Virginians with disabilities. Every day, in every way, we:
Put Clients First
Take Care of Customers
Work in Teams
Innovate and Excel
Provide it Under One Roof
Value Our Staff
Offer a Workforce Driven Curriculum
Are Organized, Utilized, and Valuable
Preserve Leadership Ethics, Accountability, Center Values, and Public Trust
Mission: The Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS), in collaboration with community partners, provides and advocates for resources and services to improve the employment, quality of life, security, and independence of older Virginians, Virginians with disabilities, and their families
WWRC is a division of DARS whose mission is to provide people with disabilities comprehensive, individualized services to realize personal independence through employment.
WWRC's vision and mission are consistently reflected on WWRC's website, serving as WWRC's official publication, and in all published and electronic documents such as the Student Handbook, Annual Reports, the WWRC Administrative Governance Manual, and strategic planning documents. WWRC's mission remains clearly focused on helping people with disabilities obtain independence through employment. All workforce assessment, transition, and training programs and medical to work services are aligned with the federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA) and the Commonwealth of Virginia Workforce System.
The Vocational Training Department housed within the WWRC's Career and Workforce Development Division offers targeted workforce assessment and training programs leading to industry credentials, measurable skills gains, and career pathways in preparation for growth occupations throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia, utilizing an integrated, interdisciplinary approach – the goal is to prepare people with disabilities for competitive, entry level employment, with career pathway opportunities, in a changing technological world. The mission of WWRC's Vocational Training Department and its workforce training programs align with the mission for DARS, as WWRC's parent Agency, and the WWRC mission. Training program offerings are clearly articulated on the WWRC website, serving as its official publication.
The DARS (DRS/WWRC) Business Development Team serves as WWRC's Institutional Advisory Committee and is operated under a written charter to ensure that desirable, relevant, and current practices of its training programs are taught, consistent with COE standards.
WWRC shares resources with its parent Agency, DARS, for formal operations of its public information and community relations program, which includes all media releases and other communications with the general public under the direction of the DARS Commissioner and/or WWRC Director.
The WWRC and its Vocational Training mission statements are consistent with that of the Agency as follows:
WWRC's Vision and Mission statements are reviewed at least annually, involving broad-based stakeholder feedback and form the basis of Federal, State and Agency-based strategic planning processes conducted and/or reviewed at least annually as documented in the WWRC Blueprint for Direction. The WWRC website is WWRC's official publication. The WWRC Administrative Governance Manual documents a centralized organizational business process that facilitates maintenance of accurate and timely content on the WWRC website that clearly documents WWRC scope and access to workforce-driven services and programs as well as general information about the Center for parents, families, and prospective customers. The WWRC Organizational Development and Quality Assurance Division collaborates with department/division representatives and the WWRC Executive Team to continuously review and update the website, as relevant and appropriate. For ease of reference, a cross-walk between WWRC's website and COE-required publication elements is delineated in WWRC's Vocational Training Operations Manual.
The DARS (DARS/WWRC) Business Development Team, serving as WWRC's Institutional Advisory Committee (replacing the former General Advisory Committee structure which previously served as WWRC's Institutional Advisory Committee), meets every other month, usually on the third Tuesday. Its authority, scope, membership, and meeting structure are detailed in a written charter, consistent with COE standards. The mission of the DARS (DRS/WWRC) Business Development Team is to facilitate coordinated statewide employer engagement in alignment with the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) mission and the mission of the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center (WWR). The DARS (DRS/WWRC) Business Development Team leverages the expertise and resources of Agency resources who have a statewide 'presence' through regular and ongoing business engagement with corporate entities, emerging industries, and business leaders throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.
DARS/DRS Business Development Managers, serving on the WWRC Institutional Advisory Committee, coordinate strategic tours and linkages between WWRC and Virginia's labor market on a continuous basis, thus fostering relevant and continual alignment of WWRC's training programs with statewide economic and labor market needs. This new Institutional Advisory Committee structure was implemented in 2017, subsequent to the creation of the DRS Workforce Development Unit in 2016, and addressed prior challenges WWRC experienced with membership and statewide representation while simultaneously promoting integrated workforce services with WWRC's parent Agency and primary referral source. WWRC believes this to meet the 'spirit and intent' of COE standards for an Institutional Advisory Committee. Successful workforce partnerships that have evolved through the DARS (DRS/WWRC) Business Development Team have already resulted in curricular enhancements across WWRC training programs. Examples, such as those with the statewide CVS Health System, the Virginia Manufacturing Association, U.S. Foods, Commonwealth Senior Living, and Provides US, will be discussed and demonstrated during the COE Accreditation Site Visit.
WWRC shares resources with its parent Agency, DARS, for formal operations of its public information and community relations program, which includes all media releases and other communications with the general public under the direction of the DARS Commissioner and/or WWRC Director. The DARS Communications/Public Relations Director, housed through the DARS Central Office in Richmond and reporting to the DRS Commissioner, has lead accountability for development, implementation, and evaluation of the Agency public information and community relations program, directly and/or through delegation to assigned staff. This position coordinates activities with the WWRC Director and/or his designee, for events specific to WWRC. This position also manages and directs all media communications for the Agency, both print and web-based, including social media venues. The DRS website houses current and archived news releases, you-tube videos, and other media communications on behalf of the Agency, including WWRC.
Challenges and Proposed Solutions
WWRC's mission focuses on helping individuals with disabilities become employed. Directly and indirectly, the ever-changing economy, at both national and state levels, continues to have a significant impact on WWRC's ability to serve clients and the ability of these clients to gain independence through employment, thus fulfilling the organization's mission. DARS and WWRC remain committed to fulfilling their stated missions, despite the challenges experienced.
As documented in WWRC's current State Strategic Plan, through 2018, the forecast indicates WWRC will continue to be a key provider of service to DARS clients with most significant disabilities. DARS serves eligible people with disabilities, as part of the federal Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Program regulated under federal WIOA laws. Federal VR laws and regulations state that if State funds are insufficient to serve all eligible people with disabilities, then an Order of Selection must go into effect. An Order of Selection (OoS) will place a person with a disability into one of three categories, dependent upon severity of the disability. The
Priority 1 category serves people with the most significant disability, Priority
2 category serves people with a significant disability the results in serious
functional limitations in one or two functional areas and who require two or
more substantial VR services for at least six months and, Priority 3 category serves
all other individuals determined eligible for the VR Program. Priority categories are reopened as funds
permit, with the Priority 1 category being the first that must open, with the other
categories following in sequence. Priority
categories may be opened and closed while DRS is operating under an
Order Of Selection.
From March 1, 2011 thru November 1, 2011, all categories were closed. Since November 1, 2011 to present, the categories have opened or closed multiple times depending on agency resources. The challenge of this situation is that eligible individuals can at times be put on waiting list with uncertainty regarding when the category will be reopened. This has a direct impact on WWRC referrals, census, utilization, and population profile. In all likelihood, DARS will remain in an Order of Selection, so WWRC will need to continuously align its resources, staffing patterns, and service/program offerings to meet the complex needs of individuals with the most significant disabilities and changing customer and referral source priorities.
WWRC will continue to build, nurture, and strengthen diverse community and employer engagement strategies to ensure continued relevancy of its mission. This includes its evolving relationship with the DARS (DRS/WWRC) Business Development Team, serving as its newly restructured Institutional Advisory Committee under COE.
The Accreditation Self-Study Committee finds WWRC in compliance with Standard 1. Evidence of compliance with COE Standard 1 will be verified through staff interviews, student interactions, team member observations and review of Self-Study materials, and file/document audits, as indicated.
The following key contact and supporting documentation for Standard 1 are provided to supplement hyperlinks integrated within this narrative.