Rehabilitation Services Administration Business Roundtables

The Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) provides guidance and support to state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies that are charged with providing job training and placement, as well as on-the-job supports to aid individuals with disabilities find and retain employment. State VR agencies can be most successful when they understand labor force trends and can look ahead at the projected soft and hard skills employers need to train and prepare candidates for the jobs of the future. To help states in this area and to support the federal government’s Job-Driven Training Initiative, RSA contracted with New Editions to conduct four business roundtable discussions.

New Editions analyzed workforce data and projections to identify high-demand jobs within the fastest growing industries. These positions represent the best opportunities for success as employers seek new and expanded labor pools to fill their needs. In collaboration with RSA, New Editions set priorities for four roundtable discussions - one for each of the following industries: government contracting, healthcare, banking, and information technology.

New Editions identified and invited representatives from these industries to attend the discussion with RSA. We prepared briefing guides for RSA that included industry workforce statistics and background information for each participating business. We also prepared briefing guides for business participants, informing them of the services RSA offers.

New Editions developed a standard facilitator’s guide to ensure that each discussion covered the same information, inserting industry-specific questions as needed. Discussions were framed to result in detailed input with regard to the skills and abilities sought by business, the optimal way to approach business with regard to partnering with state VR agencies, and recommendations for RSA to consider to better prepare individuals with disabilities develop highly-sought after skills and find viable employment. We facilitated the discussions, took notes and prepared a report of findings and recommendations from each roundtable discussion. New Editions also prepared a final report, identifying overarching opportunities that spanned across the four industries and provided RSA with recommendations for developing strategies to leverage the information gained.