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Innovation Inspiration Expo 2022 New Year, New Ideas! logo



A virtual conference focused on sharing your creative and innovative practices with your colleagues.

January 24–26, 2022

Register Today!

Do you have an accommodation request? Email by January 3, 2022 so we can meet your needs. 

Each registrant will receive a digital copy of the book,
"Stop Decorating the Fish" written by our keynote speaker, Kristen Cox. 

Price: $150

Location: Online through our Learning Management System (CANVAS) 

Credits: There are three live Keynotes and 27 on-demand presentations with each Keynote and presentation worth 1 CRC or 0.1 CEU for a total of 29.5 CRC credits and 2.95 CEU's. 

Purpose: Provide a virtual forum for sharing innovative and creative solutions in vocational rehabilitation (VR) that are field initiated (frontline), improve the consumer VR experience, and result in high-quality employment outcomes.

Philosophy: Some of the most innovative and creative solutions come from professionals who work directly with consumers and recognize needs, opportunities, and new possibilities. This expo is designed to give frontline VR professionals a forum to share new ideas, innovative solutions, and creative projects with others in the field. It is also an opportunity to be inspired by peers to think differently, reconnect with creative abilities, and revitalize professional commitment by seeing the field from an exciting new perspective. The expo will be offered virtually on an annual basis to ensure the ability of all frontline staff to attend, participate, and be inspired.

Theme: New Year, New Ideas!  


AGENDAInnovation Expo logo

All times are Central Time
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Day One – Monday, January 24th, 

8:30 AM                     
Online Reception and Log-In

9:00 AM                     
Open up access to recorded presentations

9:00 am                     
Open Scavenger Hunt contest

9:00 AM                     
Open Virtual Vendor Hall

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM        
Recorded presentation - "The Provision of Small Business Services" followed by Live Discussion with presenter, Bobbie Milliken - Indiana VR

10:30 AM                   
Welcome – Kyle Walker

11:00 AM – Noon       
Keynote  - Kristen Cox“Innovation In Government”  

Former Executive Director of the Utah Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, former Executive Director of the Utah Department of Workforce Services, former Secretary of the Maryland Department of Disabilities, Republican candidate for Maryland Lieutenant Governor, and author of “Stop Decorating the Fish” will be presenting on innovation in the government sector with a special emphasis on innovation in workforce development and working with people with disabilities. Kristen is an individual who is blind and a vocational rehabilitation program alumnus.

Noon – 1:15 PM              
Keynote - Steve Wooderson - "VR's Future Requires Innovation" 

Steve’s presentation will draw on his experiences and perspective on innovation in the public VR program.  He will describe why it is important to find real innovation and unleash the professional potential of all agency staff.  He will give his thoughts on how VR can innovate within “our lane” while simultaneously collaborating with all the other workforce development partners in creative and innovative ways.

1:30 PM – 3:00 PM           
Recorded presentation - "Robotics Academy Leaps into Linux" followed by Live Discussion with presenters, Tish Harris, Chuck Gardner, Jaqoun Evans - Virginia DBVI 

3:30 PM – 5:00 PM    
Happy Hour/Open Discussions of topics of interest, presentations and Keynotes and Prize Drawing

Day Two – Tuesday, January 25th  

8:40 AM        
General Announcements For the Day and Prize Drawings  

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM        
Recorded presentation - "Participant, Provider and Employer Portals" followed by Live Discussion with presenter, Lynn Born - Tyler Technologies 

10:45 AM – 11:45 AM      
Open Discussion of topics of interest, presentations and keynotes

Noon - 1:30 PM         
Keynote - Duane Mayes“Past, Present and Future of VR”

Duane will speak to the audience 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. Mayes received a bachelor’s and master’s degree in vocational rehabilitation from the University of Wisconsin Stout graduating in 1982.  Mayes moved to Alaska in 1982 to work for the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.  He has 38 years of vocational rehabilitation experience, eight in the private sector and four as the owner of his own business.  He went on to work for three years as the Operations Director with the Governor's Council on Disabilities and Special Education and then assumed the position of Division Director from 2010 to 2018 for Senior and Disabilities Services with the Alaska Department of Health & Social Services.  Two years ago, Mayes made the decision to come back to the Alaska Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.  

2:00 PM – 3:30 PM           
Recorded presentation - "New VR Analytics Options for 2022" followed by Live Discussion with Chris Pieper - Encorpe

4:00 PM - 5:00 PM           
Happy Hour/Open Discussion of topics of interest

Day Three – Wednesday, January 26th 

8:40 AM                     
General Announcements For the Day and Prize Drawing

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM        
Recorded presentation - "Intersectionality/DEA&I - What's Disability Got to Do With IT?" followed by Live Discussion with presenters, Jenny Piatt, Darlene King, Linda Watson - Michigan Rehabilitation Services 

11:00 AM – 12:30 PM     
Recorded presentation - "Your Dream, Your Team" followed by Live Discussion with presenters, Mary McLaughlin, Maria Lombardi  - HempsteadWorks and Tompkins Workforce New York 

2:00 AM – 3:30 PM           
Recorded presentations - "The Progressive Employment Learning Collaborative" followed by Live Discussion with presenter, Kelly Haines - ICI UMass Boston  

4:00 PM                     
Closing Comments and Winners of Scavenger Hunt


Click on each presentation title to learn more. 

Innovation In Government
Kristen Cox, Author of "Stop Decorating the Fish"

Past, Present, and Future of VR
Duane Mayes; UW-Stout Alumna, Alaska Department of Labor Division of Vocational Rehabilitation 

VR's Future Requires Innovation

Steve Wooderson, CSAVR

ND CREATE: Bringing Light to the Prairie
Presented by staff from North Dakota Center for Persons with Disabilities

Getting with the Times: Modernizing Authorization, Claims, and Payment Processes
Presented by staff from Indiana Bureau of Rehabilitation Services 

A Case Study in Programmatic Resilience:  Practical Applications for Effective Engagement During Uncertain Times
Presented by staff from Virginia Rehabilitation Center for the Blind and Vision Impaired 

The Journey Together: Engaging Students Flexibly in Conversations About Work and Career
Presented by staff from Oregon Vocational Rehabilitation 

Nebraska Career Pathways Advancement Project: Results from a Five-Year Model Demonstration
Presented by staff from Nebraska VR

The Progressive Employment Learning Collaborative: Peer-to-Peer Support for Model Implementation
Presented by staff from Institute for Community Inclusion, University of Massachusetts Boston 

Functional Capacity Evaluation for the Vocational Rehabilitation Case Manager
Presented by staff from International Commission on Health Care Certification

Exploring Who Am I Now? and What Do I Want?
Presented by staff from Texas Workforce Commission 

How a RASCI Responsibility Matrix was Used to Create a High-Performing Vocational Rehabilitation Team
Presented by staff from Texas Workforce Commission - Vocational Rehabilitation Division 

RISE: Individualized Services for Successful Transition
Presented by staff from Employment Horizons, Inc.

Delivering Assessment And Intervention In A Period of Change Brought On By The Pandemic Using Cloud-Based Technology
Presented by staff from Conover Company   

The Provision of Small Business Services
Presented by staff from Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation 

Vehicle Modification Services - Indiana VR
Presented by staff from Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation 

Igniting the Fire of Creativity in VR
Presented by staff from State of Alaska, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation 

Thinking Outside the Box
Presented by staff from KY Office of Vocational Rehabilitation  

Robotics Academy Leaps Into Linux; Students move from bots to basic web design and accessibility
Presented by staff from Virginia Dept. for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)

IT Credential Fair: Career Exploration leads to tiered training and career pathways
Presented by staff from Virginia Dept. for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI)

Ohio College2Careers Program
Presented by staff from Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities 

Your Dream, Your Team: Creating Career Pathways for Young People with Disabilities
Presented by staff from HempsteadWorks and Tompkins Workforce new York

 It Takes A Village - successful transdisciplinary  approaches that lead to employment outcomes
Presented by staff from Helen Keller National Center for Youth and Adults who are DeafBlind 

A Diamond in the Rough
Presented by staff from Youth Empowered to Brilliantly Advance (YEBA) 

Hotel Stay Turned Into Life Independence
Presented by staff from Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation  

Workgroups To Challenge One Internally and Externally
Presented by staff from Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation 

How Separation Led To Job Retention and Participant Success
Presented by staff from Indiana Vocational Rehabilitation 

Vocational Evaluation During a Pandemic - Now What?!
Presented by staff from DARS - Commonwealth of Virginia 

Intersectionality/DEA&I – What’s Disability Got to Do With It?
Presented by staff from Michigan Rehabilitation Services 

New VR Analytics Options for 2022
Presented by Staff from Encorpe

Participant, Provider and Employer Portals
Presented by Staff from Tyler Technologies 

Scavenger Hunt

Join us for a digital scavenger hunt! The Innovation and Inspiration Expo is excited to host a 12-item scavenger hunt for the duration of the event. Participants can get their creative juices flowing and also take an opportunity to share photos of their “found” items. Prizes will be awarded for some of the fastest and most creative entries.    

Vendor Hall

Thank you to our:

Platinum Sponsors

CSAVR logo







Alliance Enterprises logo





Tyler Technologies logo






Encorpe logo


Virtual Vendor Hall Table

YES LMS logo

Sponsorship Opportunity

Benefits of Sponsoring the Innovation Inspiration Expo

Investment: Invest in your brand equity by supporting the community of rehabilitation professionals.

Talent: Connect with line staff, supervisors, and agency directors who are at the forefront of the rehabilitation and assistive technology field.

Leadership: Demonstrate your organization’s leadership and innovative practices in front of the brightest minds in the field.

The Innovation Inspiration Expo is a grassroots effort to connect all vocational rehabilitation professionals to educate, discuss, and share different and inspiring practices that are working in the field

Download our Brochure 

Sponsorship Registration