SVRI Summer 2020 Newsletter

Adjusting to a new reality.
In this Section

COMMENTS FROM KYLE Image of Kyle Walker

A great deal has changed at SVRI since our last newsletter and it has me reflecting on the meaning and power of the word rehabilitation.

Like many of you, SVRI is working to reinvent ourselves as we adjust to a new reality. The COVID-19 pandemic has greatly impacted SVRI operations, especially in our client services areas. Referrals to our Eligibility and Order of Selection unit plummeted when Wisconsin’s Governor issued a “safer at home” order. This resulted in SVRI having to downsize our workforce significantly at the end of June. Referrals for Benefits Counseling, Vocational Evaluation and Assistive Technology services have also dropped significantly resulting in the need for SVRI to implement furloughs due to a lack of workload. SVRI leadership truly regrets the actions that needed to be taken to align revenue with expenditures during these unprecedented times.

SVRI knows that the current unemployment situation will eventually result in increased demand for our services and we plan to be ready to restore our capacity to meet that need. In the meantime, SVRI leadership has been working to assist our dislocated staff in seeking new employment opportunities. SVRI is also very concerned with how this pandemic has affected the employment and careers of people with disabilities. From our staff to our clients, SVRI is preparing to be ready and able to help rehabilitate interrupted careers when this pandemic ends.

Rehabilitation can be defined as restoring to health or normal life or learning to adjust and adapt to the new realities of a new normal life. The power of rehabilitation is the healing that comes from regaining a sense of control through adapting and learning how to do things differently. Hopefully, we all reach this place soon.   



ADA 30 years Americans with Disabilities Act logoSVRI is proud to support the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 30th Anniversary. July 26 marks this important civil rights law that prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public. The purpose of the law is to make sure that people with disabilities have the same rights and opportunities as everyone else.

The ADA would like to hear from you by sharing what the ADA means to you by using #ThanksToTheADA on a social media platform of your choosing.

The ADA training page hosts an abundance of trainings to meet your needs on ADA related disability topics.



SVRI has lost two admired members from the SVRI family, Will Etzbach and Al Noll.

Image of Will Etzbach

Will Etzbach worked at SVRI as a case facilitator since 2015 helping over 2,000 Wisconsin residents in the application process for receiving Vocational Rehabilitation Services.

Will’s expansive knowledge and experience in the vocational rehabilitation field was instrumental in the growth of his unit. He mentored many of his co-workers asserting his strong professionalism and ethical values that are missed by all. Will’s humor and kindness can not be surpassed. It was an honor to have worked with Will and he is missed by everyone.

For more information refer to his obituary.!/Obituary


Image of Al NollAl Noll became a staff member at SVRI in 1985 where he taught, supervised students, wrote articles, and participated in the writing of textbooks for Educators in the field of Special Education. For many years he was an active member on the Board of United Cerebral Palsy, helping with the Annual Telethons and Snow Biz events.

Al ended his career as the Director of the Transition Partnership School in conjunction with Menomonie Public Schools and SVRI. He often said his co-workers were his “second family”.

For more information refer to his obituary.



After 30 years at UW-Stout, Mary McManus is retiring Friday, August 7. Mary worked at the Memorial Student Center for 26 years and at SVRI since the spring of 2016.

Mary’s knowledge and expertise were integral in the transition of many changes that occurred within the last four years at SVRI. She served as the Research and Knowledge Translation Director, SVRI Interim Executive Director, and Associate Executive Director.

Mary’s thoughtfulness and kind-handed gestures in management will be missed for years to come. We wish her well in retirement.

In thanks for her service, a tentative late spring of 2021 celebratory gathering will be planned and announced. Mary will retain her UW-Stout email as part of emeritus status.



Image of Amanda SchlegelmilchAmanda Schlegelmilch has taken on a new position as Institutional Planning Analyst with Chippewa Valley Technical College in Eau Claire, WI.

We want to thank Amanda for her outstanding work in research with SVRI grants and other projects.

Best wishes and many, many thanks, Amanda! 



SVRI’s Eligibility and Order of Selection (EOS) Unit turned five on May 1.

The EOS unit continues to surpass the required 60 days to determine an individual’s eligibility for DVR services.

Case Closure Time

SVRI case closure average time 2019: 23 days

SVRI case closure average time 2018: 24 days

SVRI case closure average time 2017: 31 days

Number of Consumer referrals received by SVRI

2019: 10,475 consumers

2018: 9,967 consumers

2017: 10,726 consumers

Learn more about SVRI Services



SVRI’s CRC Prep Workshop is popular both locally and nationally. The number one priority of the workshop is to offer support to individuals who are preparing for the CRC exam. These eight-week workshops are optimally scheduled to prepare CRC applicants up to their exam date. The workshop provides weekly Zoom meetings to stay in touch virtually, emails to help participants stay on track, along with text messaging that features study tips. Learn more

Next Workshop:

August 6 – October 1, 2020


2021 dates coming soon

Here's what our students are saying about us:

I achieved a passing score on the CRC exam last Saturday!!!

Thanks to the SVRI preparation and quality of lessons...this course is a must for anyone before taking the CRC exam, I have a hearing disability and having all lessons on line allowed me to read at my own speed with flexible access to all materials was definitely a major factor in my success. 

~ Hermann

Your prep course provided me with the necessary structure and resources to properly prepare. Although I didn't take all the practice quizzes and exams (because of my procrastination), I printed and carefully reviewed the questions and answers. I credit the SVRI prep course to my successfully passing the CRC exam.  

~ Ed



Project E3TC LogoProject E3

The Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities (VRTAC-TC) is designed to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities from traditionally marginalized communities. The grant aims to increase vocational rehabilitation participation of persons with disabilities from these targeted communities leading to greater quality employment outcomes. Kyle Walker, SVRI’s Executive Director, is the Principal Investigator for our efforts on this project. 

Resources Roundup

Project E3 is pleased to provide a roundup of resources on specific vocational rehabilitation topics designed for easy access collecting all relevant information in one place. This includes, recorded webcast trainings, best practices, strategies to use in targeted communities, and research resources.  These resources are designed to improve vocational rehabilitation services for the most underserved groups of people with disabilities.

Learn more:


Our archived webcasts continue to be popular for people in the vocational rehabilitation field. To date, our webcasts have included topics on trauma-informed care, soft skills for employment, financial empowerment, employment and disabilities, motivational interviewing, youth and disabilities, disability benefits, and poverty and disability. These webinars are attended by an average of 1000+ Vocational Rehabilitation professionals from varied state, federal, and community agencies throughout the United States.

If you’ve missed any of our webcasts, they are available here:

Upcoming webcast:

Title: Creating an Inclusive Work Culture: What Employers and Recruiters Need to Know

Date: August 20, 2020

Time: 11AM – 12:30PM CT

Register Here:


PEQAPeqaTac Logo

The Vocational Rehabilitation Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance Technical Assistance Center (PEQA-TAC) is funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) with the intent to enhance program evaluation capacity within the public vocational rehabilitation program. Dr. Cayte Anderson is the Principal Investigator on the project.

There are currently 40 state vocational rehabilitation programs engaged in the PEQA online training program across multiple cohorts since October 2016. As of January 2020, a seventh cohort of seven participants further extends the outreach effort of this national technical assistance center project. Participants work individually or in teams to complete the program curriculum. In addition, they design and implement a capstone evaluation project that will be meaningful to their State agency and approved by the agency director.

There are six completed capstone projects, each presentation can be found here The capstone project hub includes takeaways for VR counselors and administrators, background information, purpose of the study, methods used, results, and implications for practice or future research. 

A live presentation for three more capstone projects is scheduled for August 18, 2020. This webinar is worth 1 CRC and free to attend. 

Title: PEQA Capstone Presentations

Date: August 18, 2020

Time: 11 AM – 12:30 PM

Register Here:

13th Annual Summit on Performance Management Excellence Conference

The 13th Annual Summit on Performance Management Excellence is moving to an online format due to health concerns around COVID-19 after receiving input from state agencies and conference presenters.

We anticipate offering the conference in late fall of 2020 and will share conference updates as conference planning develops. To get updated presentation sessions, dates, and registration information, visit the conference website:


Wisconsin Promise logoWisconsin PROMISE work is focusing on content sustainability into the future.

The Wisconsin Transition Resource Guide provides tips and resources to help plan for adulthood and life after high school. This guide will help youth get ready to consider choices, explore options, and take action to prepare for their future. The guide is now called the Transition Resource Guide and has been moved to You can retrieve a downloaded copy or order a print version here:

The special edition, double issue of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation focused on design, implementation and impact of the national PROMISE demonstration grant and is available online. Volume 51, Issue 2 can be found online, and the entire special edition is open sourced.



Net Business Relations Consultant

The CSAVR-NET team is recruiting for a qualified member to support the expansion of their work with business and the employment of individuals with disabilities. This is a full-time position and the selected individual will work virtually from their home. It is an exempt position.

Salary is dependent upon experience.  

Qualified applicants are asked to electronically submit a comprehensive education and employment resume, along with three letters of reference to:

Stephen A. Wooderson, CEO


Application deadline is 5PM ET, Friday, August 14, 2020.

Full time CSAVR staff are eligible for retirement, vacation pay and medical insurance.  CSAVR is committed to creating a diverse environment and is proud to be an equal opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, sexual orientation, national origin, genetics, disability, age, or veteran status. 

If you need a reasonable accommodation in the application process, please advise.


Our Mission: SVRI serves as a leader to advance innovative programs and practice in disability and employment through partnerships in research, training, education, and services.

Our Vision: SVRI will be the premier resource of state-of-the-art knowledge, innovation, and services to positively impact people’s health, employment, and economic state.