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Collaboration and Partnership to Improve Employment Outcomes

Article Summary

Flannery, Slovic, Treasure, Ackley & Lucas (2002) present information about an Oregon partnership between rehabilitation agencies and Centers for Independent Living (CILs) to provide consumers of the rehabilitation with peer mentors to help them secure and maintain employment. Flannery et al. (2002) shares the lessons learned in partnering to develop peer-mentoring services designed to assist in removing barriers to independent living and employment.

Flannery et al. report, "The project collected information through a consumer database, quarterly reports by peer mentor sites, and at the end of the Project interviews with seven mentors and seven counselors representing the four regions of the state."

The lessons learned through the Project fall into four main areas:

  1. time and effort of partnering,
  2. purchasing IL service,
  3. wearing two hats-advocacy and mentoring, and
  4. impact on the partnering agencies (rehabilitation, CILs, non-profit).
First, The peer mentoring agency and Rehabilitation Counselors had to develop a strong working relationship for the best possible outcome. Second, independent living services were purchased to help individuals with disabilities to become more independent and vocational rehabilitative services were purchased to help individuals obtain and maintain employment.

Third, regarding wearing two hats-advocacy and mentoring, "Mentors who were affiliated with CILs needed to clarify with the rehabilitation professionals and consumers that advocacy was a core service they provided and that they would continue to be advocates for people with disability and on disability issues in their community."

Fourth and final, regarding the impact on the partnering agencies, "Many counselors, however, found that this partnering helped not only the consumers, but also themselves to accomplish more in their rehabilitation counseling."

Flannery and colleagues believe, "These mentor programs demonstrated on a small scale how collaboration between rehabilitation agencies and community agencies with an independent living philosophy can deliver services through peer mentors. Research is needed to more specifically explore the consumer outcomes, cost benefit and specific services provided through such efforts."

Flannery et al. (2002) conclude, "It is now apparent that while the two systems (rehabilitation and Centers for Independent Living) are becoming closer in philosophy each year, they are still very separate entities, often with different methods of service delivery, timelines, and outcome expectations. These two systems and the people who participated in this project, however, learned the value of each other and the value of collaboration."


Flannery, K. B., Slovic, R., Treasure, T., Ackley, D., & Lucas, F. (2002). Collaboration and partnership to improve employment outcomes. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 17(3), 207-215.

IOS Press - Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation