Research Summary

Research Summary: National Survey of State VR Agency and Veterans Affairs Interagency Collaborations – An Emerging Conceptual Framework for Co-Serving Veterans of Color with Disabilities

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A Quick Look

This study examined the perceptions of state vocational rehabilitation agency administrators and United States Department of Veterans Affairs Vocational Rehabilitation (SVRA) and Employment Program (VA-VR&E) co-service practices that could facilitate improved employment outcomes among veterans of color with disabilities. It also sought to inform the development of an emerging conceptual framework for a new model that could help facilitate an increase in successful employment outcome rates among veterans of color with disabilities.

Key Findings

  • The overall results indicated that the overwhelming majority of SVRA respondents currently or previously participated to some degree in collaboration with VA-VR&E programs.
  • Findings informed the development of an emerging conceptual framework for a new “SVRA and VA-VR&E Co-Service Model”.
  • An overwhelming majority of respondents rated the provision of cultural training from one agency to the other as an effective co-service practice contributing to successful employment outcomes.
  • Respondents were asked to rate nine specific barriers as to how much they might prevent their engagement in co-service practices.
  • A majority of the respondents indicated that all nine barriers would present a challenge to some degree to their engaging in co-service practices.

Putting It Into Practice

  • This new model provides SVRAs and VA-VR&E Programs a unique opportunity to engage in co-service practices that are more coordinated and consistent than the current co-service paradigm.
  • Collaboration allows for VA-VR&E counselors to refer veterans to SVRAs.
  • Based on similarity of the practices, five co-service practice domains were catalogued.
  • It is important for VR professionals to understand which individuals represent opinion leaders who can informally influence others’ opinions, attitudes, and behaviors regarding co-service practices.

Learn More

  • The investigators collected data using a survey of promising co-service practices and collaborations.
  • Analysis yielded 11 key themes that were catalogued into five domains.
  • Ainspan, N. D. (2011). From deployment to employment. U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings, 137 (2), 44-50.
  • Fleming, A. R., Del Valle, R., Kim, M., & Leahy, M. J. (2013). Best practice models of effective vocational rehabilitation service delivery in the public rehabilitation program: A review and synthesis of the empirical literature. Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, 56(3), 146-159.


Johnson, J., Moore, C. L., Aref, F., Washington, A., Ward, C., & Webb, K. (2017), National survey of state vocational rehabilitation agency and veterans’ affairs interagency collaborations: An emerging conceptual framework for co-serving veterans of color with disabilities. Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling. 48(4), DOI: 10.1891/0047-2220.48.4.54.

Contact a Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment expert at:

Download the National Survey of State VR Agency Veterans Affairs Interagency Collaborations (word)

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