A collaborative approach to achieve your employment goals
Established in 2008, the Independent Living and Vocational Rehabilitation (IL/VR) team is a CARF-accredited, unique collaboration for people with disabilities seeking employment. As job seekers pursue employment goals with their Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, they can also work with an MCIL specialist to remove barriers through services like Benefits Coaching and other services designed to support Independent Living. MCIL staff help job seekers to understand the impact of work on their benefits, explore affordable housing options, find the right health insurance, apply for social security, learn to use public transportation, locate resources to address basic needs, and more. Participants in this program must be currently enrolled in Minnesota Vocational Rehabilitation Services and must be referred by their job counselor.
If you’re looking for new job opportunities or need support in advancing your goals related to independence, MCIL encourages you to begin by getting signed up with a Vocational Rehabilitation Services (VRS) counselor. Some helpful links to get started:
- General "Job Seekers"
- People with Disabilities
- Blind or Visually Impaired
- Find a Vocational Rehabilitation Services office
Services provided by an MCIL IL/VR Specialist may include:
- Benefits Coaching: helping you to understand how employment income may impact your benefits, learn how to navigate benefits systems, programs, and resources to reach financial goals and further independence.
- Budgeting and financial education
- Housing search assistance and resources
- Navigating state and county services, such as health insurance, financial assistance programs, and home and community supports
Here’s some testimonials from people we’ve worked with about what MCIL helped them with:
“MCIL helped me with how to navigate reporting my information to keep my benefits on track. Lots of good information. Much appreciated.”
“I'm so thankful for MCIL's services!”
“My IL/VR staff is a joy with which to work. She is professional, caring, and compassionate.”
In a recent survey, 90% of people contacted felt that the IL/VR Specialist who helped them was knowledgeable, culturally competent, and helped increase their ability to make choices about their own life. People reported that their knowledge of their own benefits increased, that they had a deeper understanding of how work would impact their benefits, and that this knowledge helped them to make informed choices about employment.
Frequently Asked Questions:
How can I work with an IL/VR Specialist
The IL/VR Collaboration is not a walk-in service. To work with an IL/VR Specialist, a person must be receiving services from VRS, and their VRS counselor will need to make a referral to the program. If a person is receiving services from VRS and is interested in working with an IL/VR Specialist, they should contact their VRS counselor to ask about getting a referral.
What are examples how an MCIL IL/VR Specialist can help me?
Individuals can work one-on-one with our advocates to gain a greater understanding of how employment income will affect their benefits, navigate benefits programs, find resources to meet their financial goals, learn more about financial independence. They can also help with housing searches, financial assistance resources, talking to their county services worker, resolving issues with Social Security, and more.
MCIL also has classes that teach skills for independent living such as cooking classes, preparing for the written permit test to drive a vehicle, basic budgeting, social groups, and more. These classes are subject to change based on community interest. These classes are open to the public.
Where can I learn more about Vocational Rehabilitation Services?
For more information, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Employed and Empowered
Bill is 24-years old and recently graduated with a degree in finance. He is on the autism spectrum and was feeling extremely anxious in social situations. He was particularly nervous about the job interview process as he pursued employment opportunities. MCIL Independent Living Specialist Melody, worked with Bill on developing his résumé, and coached him through numerous practice interviews and guided him through real-life questions and answers. Bill gained confidence and new coping strategies. After just a few interviews with potential employer he successfully landed a position in finance at a well-known bank. Bill has reported that he’s learning a great deal and is happy in his new job.
In 2019, 1,108 job seekers were assisted by Independent Living Vocational Rehabilitation Specialists.