Overview: Business Outreach

Welcome to this four-part training, Business Outreach. Its purpose is to explain how staff in vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies can develop partnerships with businesses. The Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research, funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR, award #90DP0077, 2015-2020), developed this course in partnership with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation (CSAVR) and Linda Hedenblad of VR Development Group.

As the overview explains, this training was part of an study the KTER Center conducted about knowledge brokering. That study is over, so we are making these videos available to the public at no-cost.

If you are interested in details of the study and how the KTER Center drew on prior research to develop course content, you are welcome to view the Introduction Video below and download the KTER Center's Technical Brief #11 summarizing findings from the study. For additional background on research the KTER Center conducted with the VR business consultants and the businesses they serve to explore their informational needs, download the KTER Center’s Technical Brief #9. This introduction video was presented to orient study participants to the course, however, and is not necessary for you to view prior to the four other modules. The knowledge checks that the modules mention are no longer necessary and have been removed.

Please contact ktdrr@air.org with any questions about this course.

Introduction Video

Click here to download a PDF version of the Welcome and Overview presentation slides.

Additional Resources

Publications and Other Resources for KTER Center Training: Business Outreach.

Transcript of Welcome and Overview

The Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research (KTER) housed at the American Institutes for Research is proud to present the business outreach training. This presentation is to welcome you and provides an overview of the training program.

Welcome. Thank you for participating in the American Institutes for Research Center on Knowledge Translation for Employment Research— otherwise known as the KTER Center’s—training for business outreach. This training is being conducted in coordination with the Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation—otherwise known as CSAVR’s—National Employment Team—otherwise known as “the NET.” As part of a grant funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research—known as NIDILRR.

My name is Linda Hedenblad, and I'll be your instructor during this four-part training course. In the next few slides, we'll review the purpose of the training, the four-part training modules, and the process for completing them. Our goal at AIR's KTER Center is to make research relevant to those who need it most, and that means you.

Over the course of this training, we hope to do this by bringing you knowledge from the academic literature and combining it with practitioner’s voice to provide a rich and well-balanced perspective on the content area, business outreach. At the end of the program, you'll have a chance to provide feedback so that we can continue to serve you and others in the field with excellence. We hope this training will prove valuable to you, and we look forward to going on this journey together. So, let's get started, shall we?

The purpose of this training is to support the KTER Center's overall study to apply a knowledge broker model in vocational rehabilitation agency settings. This training seeks to support that goal by helping VR agency staff or business consultants to learn more about communicating with businesses to develop partnerships with VR agencies.

So, what does that mean? First, understand that knowledge brokers are individuals positioned to bridge the worlds of both research and practice. AIR's KTER Center already has implemented this model in existing trainings with staff from VR agencies on how to act in a broker role. For example, with online modules about adult learning, research on the employment of adults with autism, and research on pre-employment transition services. VR supervisors have been involved in those studies.

For this training, KTER has been working with the National Employment Team or “the NET.” The NET is an initiative made up of VR business consultants who operate as single points of contact for businesses with which they work and exists to improve working relationships and marketing effectiveness with these businesses. Having a single point of contact at the VR means businesses know exactly whom to contact when they need to talk to VR. The clarity and consistency this brings is important to businesses, especially large scale and multi-state businesses, and it's the reason the NET was formed. NET members function as business consultants in support of the dual customer approach to VR where VR agencies consider businesses as customers, similar to how people with disabilities are treated as customers.

In this marketing and corporate relations role, NET members have the opportunity to work with a variety of companies across industries, including large-scale businesses and industry leaders within the retail, health, and technology sectors. The knowledge broker training the KTER Center is offering to NET members will support this dual customer approach by bridging the gap of research to practice in a meaningful way that helps the NET enhance business relations.

Our goal for this training course is to help VR agency staff who work with businesses to increase their knowledge and understanding about communicating with businesses in effective ways that promote lasting relationships with those businesses and ultimately advance the employment of people with disabilities. We hope these staff can become knowledge brokers and will be able to pass on what they learn to their agencies.

Before going any further, let's briefly go over some background information that will help you understand the importance of this training and how it fits into the overall study being conducted by the KTER Center.

To develop this training, the KTER Center has worked closely with the members of our technical working group for business outreach. As a first step, we identified informational needs of business consultants by conducting a survey of NET members and by holding focus groups with NET members and the business leaders with whom they work. These efforts helped to inform the next step in the process by determining the topics for scoping review, which is a literature review that identifies and maps out evidence, providing an overview of the topic. Based on the data collected in the first step, we identified three topics of interest for the scoping review. The first was outreach and communication; the second, assessing business needs; and the third, business metrics, for example, return on investment.

The scoping review revealed an abundance of literature and resources about these topics. As a side note, we're happy to share these resources with you as we complete the training course, and we hope they will further enhance your knowledge and effectiveness in working with business.

Next, the KTER Center reviewed and analyzed the literature from the scoping review, synthesizing the content for the purpose of this training. Additionally, in collaboration with the NET, we have combined these scoping review results with business consultants’ insights from the field. Together, these sources provide a rich perspective that merges the scientific rigor of academic research with practical “boots on the ground” experience. As mentioned earlier, this training supports the KTER Center's overall study to help business consultants enhance business relationships. Though the training will be made more broadly at a later date, initial training participants only will include those who are participating in this study.

Along with the training, the KTER Center will conduct a six-month intervention with study participants and the businesses they recommend for participation, including monthly follow-up calls with KTER Center staff. At the end of the six-month study period, the KTER Center will administer a survey to the study participants, including the participating businesses, to determine the impact of the study. The results of the study will contribute to the growing body of knowledge about VR agencies, working with businesses, and will help further the research and practice for the field. Now that you have some background about the study, let's talk more specifically about the training.

As an overview, there are four 15-minute training modules that will be released over the period of four weeks with each module being released one week apart. The weekly schedule will provide time for participants to take each week's module and consider ways to apply the learning as they go about their week. To make the process easier for you, the KTER Center will notify you when each module becomes available.

The four weekly training modules are module 1, recognizing the importance of business relationships; module 2, establishing business relationships; module 3, communicating value to businesses; module 4, responding to challenges and tracking success. These modules aim to enhance your knowledge about communicating with businesses in order to help you develop and maintain effective partnerships with those businesses. To begin a module, select the section titled with the name of that module. For example, when you have finished this welcome an overview presentation, you may return to the main menu of the learning management system and select module 1, recognizing the importance of business relationships. The system will direct you to that page of the module where you will find the training module content.

Thank you again for joining us on this really important effort. You're now ready to begin the training. References to the material covered in the slideshow are found in the following slides. When you're ready, you may close the presentation and navigate to module 1. Thank you and welcome!

Click here to proceed to Module 1.