SVRI Spring 2022 Newsletter

Transformational Training Opportunity
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SVRI has been busy this year with the start of a national leadership training program and the inaugural InnovationPhoto of Terry Donovan Inspiration Expo. The National Training Center for Transformational Leadership kicked off over the winter with 17 participants. Our participants are starting to work on their capstones, which will become available in the coming months. This is part of a vision for the center to become a national repository of rehabilitation leadership tools, practices, and expertise. The next offering is set to start in June 2022.  

We had our first hugely successful, totally online Innovation Inspiration Expo in January with over 250 attendees, stimulating keynotes and 28 recorded presentations highlighting counselor innovations.  Planning has begun for Expo 2023. If you’re interested in presenting at our 2023 Expo, send us a message and we’ll make sure you’re on the list to receive our Request for Proposals. 

If you have accessibility questions, issues, or needs, think of our AT Specialist Brianne Moon who can assist you both virtually and in-person.  Her contact information can be found in this newsletter. If you would like to learn more about our Services, click here: SVRI Services   

SVRI webinar production continues unabated with approximately four new webinars posted each month.  Watch for our learning track series (coming this summer) that will focus on specific aspects of Vocational Rehabilitation where you will have the opportunity to earn badges upon completion of each track. Learn more about training opportunities offered through SVRI: SVRI Training  

We are well underway in the selection process for our Director of Research. If you or someone you know is passionate about research and demonstration projects that contribute to the art and science of vocational rehabilitation, consider joining our team.

We know that all will be overlooked when you get to the cutest baby picture of our most recent addition to the SVRI family.  Thanks for reading and enjoy Spring wherever you are.

Terry Donovan, Director of Education


National Training Center logoThe first leadership training cohort is underway with 17 participants from around the United States. This cohort will run through June and, subsequently, each individual will focus on their final capstones for accreditation approval. This diverse group of individuals have varied backgrounds including assistant directors, administrators, project managers, consultants, and vocational rehabilitation counselors. The various backgrounds and experience this group have to offer bring a wealth of knowledge to share in their leadership transformation that will change the field of vocational rehabilitation into a dynamic, innovative, and consumer responsive service delivery system.

What is Transformational Leadership? Transformational Leadership is a theory of leadership where a leader works to build teams that identify needed change and innovation, creating a vision to guide the change through inspiration, and executing the change in tandem with committed members of a group who have bought into and internalized the vision. 

Transformational Leadership enhances motivation, morale, and job performance through a variety of mechanisms including connecting sense of identity and self to the project, organization and vision, and building a collective identity through the creation of organizational storytelling, mythology, cultural values, and prime objectives. Factsheet

Registration is open for the June cohort. Learn more about the National Training Center for Transformational Rehabilitation Leadership.


2023 Expo LogoThe inaugural Innovation Inspiration Expo 2022 had over 250 participants attend the live and on-demand sessions. This three-day virtual conference hosted live presentations and discussions that sparked collaboration and active discussions between registrants throughout each day.

The first keynote speaker on day one, Kristen Cox, presented on innovation in government with a focus on innovation in workforce development and working with people with disabilities. Kristen is an individual who is blind and a vocational rehabilitation program alumnus. Her presentation focused on identifying problems and finding a solution that works. Kristen is the author of Stop Decorating the Fish; each participant received a free copy of her book.

Steve Wooderson from CSAVR spoke to the audience about VR’s future in innovation. Steve’s presentation drew on his experiences and perspective on innovation in the public VR program.  He described why it is important to find real innovation and unleash the professional potential of all agency staff. 

On day two, Duane Mayes from Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and a UW-Stout graduate delivered a presentation about his personal experiences growing up in rural Wisconsin with parents who were deaf and how this shaped his future in vocational rehabilitation. Duane talked about remembering to never forget what shaped you, what has worked well for you over the years, and most importantly, what must be done to align VR with the future. Duane’s presentation was our bonus webinar for the month of March. Click here to access the presentation.  

A special thank you to our sponsors:

Sponsorship logos

Save the Date: January 23-25, 2023. Registration opening soon!

 Sign up to receive information about next year’s Expo delivered to your inbox.


Terry Donovan

Terry Donovan has accepted the new role of SVRI Director of Education. In this role Terry will be working to develop continuing education programs for rehabilitation professionals including webinars, training modules, conferences, and technical assistance.

Mandy Trautmann

Mandy was a case facilitator within the EOS Unit. She finished her time there in December and departed to pursue a new career opportunity.  We wish her well and thank her for her time working in the EOS Unit and with SVRI.

Retirement Announcement

Debra Hulleman

Deb has been an outstanding addition with more than 14 years of service at SVRI and a true inspiration to all of us.Photo of Deb Hulleman Her contributions and achievements were fundamental to the success of SVRI’s mission. Deb’s kindness and thoughtfulness will be missed for years to come.  

Deb has worked at SVRI as a financial specialist since 2007 creating effective financial management procedures for the institute as well as overseeing payroll processes to ensure compliance with federal regulations. Just recently Deb split her time between SVRI and the Graduate School where she assists in creating new processes and measures to improve their business operations.

During her retirement, Deb is looking forward to spending time with her grandchildren and hanging out with Mickey and Minnie at Disney World.

Deb’s last day is June 3, 2022.

Welcome to the SVRI Team

Megan Salm

Megan recently joined SVRI as a case facilitator for the Eligibility and Order of Selection Unit. Before joining SVRI,Photo of Megan Salm she was a Case Facilitator for children in the CST (Coordinated Services Team) Program and provided skill development services to both children and adults dealing with mental illness and AODA. Megan holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in Psychology with a concentration in Family Studies. She is excited to make a positive impact in the field of vocational rehabilitation. 

Emma Botcher

Emma recently started her internship in the Eligibility and Order of Selection Unit. She will be an intern with SVRI over the Spring 2022 semester as the final part of her Rehabilitation Counseling master’s degree coursework with UW-Stout. Emma has a B.S. in Psychology with a minor in social work from UW-Stout attained in May of 2020 and immediately transitioned on with her master’s work.

Diane Manning

Diane was recently hired as a case facilitator for the Eligibility and Order of Selection Unit. She previously worked for SVRI and recently moved back to the area. Diane has a Bachelor of Arts in Social Work from Luther College in Decorah Iowa. She started her career working with people with disabilities at an in-home service provider for children and adults with developmental disabilities. Diane believes in impowering people with disabilities to reach their goals and creating an inclusive environment for people of all abilities.     

Congratulation to Eric BerlinPhoto of Berlin baby

Eric and his wife welcomed a new baby girl on December 28th, Isabella Rose Berlin.


Assistive Technology

Brianne Moon, our Assistive Technologist has been busy providing services and support toPhoto of Brianne Moon area consumers. She has been working with consumers evaluating and customizing their needs as well as identifying funding options. Brianne can provide virtual or on-site assessments for office and industrial ergonomics, computer access, sensory (hearing & vision) technology, job site accommodations, and home modifications. 

Contact Brianne at or (715) 232- 2248 with any questions! 

Learn more about our AT services!

Eligibility and Order of Selection Unit (EOS)

Since 2016 SVRI has been responsible for the Eligibility Determination process for Wisconsin’s Vocational Rehabilitation program. Some of the recent results from this ongoing partnership are as follows:

  • Creating a highly specialized unit for eligibility determinations.
  • Decreasing the average time for eligibility determination from 35 days to 23 days – a 34% reduction.
  • Reallocating an average of over 34 thousand work hours per year from eligibility determinations to vocational guidance and counseling.  
  • Decreasing per case actual cost by 5% over five years.
  • Increasing overall cost efficiency an average of 13% per year.

Learn more about EOS

Project SEARCH

Photo of Project Search studentsThis initiative focuses on preparing young people with significant disabilities for success in competitive integrated employment. Project SEARCH Menomonie is housed at SVRI in the Vocational Rehabilitation Building. This nine-month internship for young adults with disabilities includes hands-on instruction, classroom time that focuses on employability skills, and three rotations at a local business to gain experience and skills for competitive employment.

Project SEARCH is accepting applications for 2022-2023.
Learn more about
Project SEARCH - Menomonie


WebinarsImage of a bell hanging above a sign that reads Learning

SVRI is committed to providing professional development opportunities for individuals in vocational rehabilitation, human resources, and management.

In response to the rise in costs associated with the CEU pre-approval process, we were compelled to raise the price of our webinars. To help offset this increase, we are offering a bonus webinar each month that is free of charge and worth CRC clock hours. This change allows us to continue to meet the needs of our customers by delivering quality professional development opportunities.

Check out our extensive catalog of on-demand webinars with content focused on ethics, counseling, leadership, and assistive technology.  

Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance Certificate

Starting in the Fall of 2022, SVRI will be offering a certificate in Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance.  The certificate is in development and the target audience is state Vocational Rehabilitation staff; however, the certificate would be valuable for anyone involved in those activities. SVRI is talking with CRCC to obtain a credential for individuals who complete the certificate.  Stay tuned.

Services to Business

SVRI has been providing training to several public and non-profit organizations working with persons with disabilities.  One of those is Goodwill of North Georgia, which has one of the highest employment placement rates of any Goodwill in the country.  SVRI has plans to market its training and Assistive Technology services to businesses and non-VR organizations who have employees with disabilities or considering hiring persons with disabilities.  If you have friends or family members working for a business and that business has a need to learn more about disabilities--either because of employees with age-related disabilities, or an employee returning to work after an accident or medical procedure--think of SVRI.

Learn more about SVRI Organizational Training and Development


Join our Team!

SVRI is hiring for the Director of Research position. This person will work closely with the SVRI Executive Director, Director of Services, and Director of Education as a member of SVRI’s leadership and management team. This position reports to the SVRI Executive Director and will assume responsibility for generating, submitting, and successfully managing grant proposals and projects in response to federal, state, and private foundation requests for proposals to fund research and demonstration projects that substantially contribute to the art and science of vocational rehabilitation. This is a .5 FTE annual year appointment eligible for virtual officing.

If you’re looking for a change and want to work with a team that is passionate and committed to promoting an equitable and inclusive environment, consider applying today.