Supported Employment - Training and Certification

Do you provide Supported Employment services through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) and/or Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid Waivers?

If yes! Don't miss out on this opportunity to get paid for your professional development and satisfy new requirements for Employment First in Colorado! Act now!!

Options for Professional Development

Complete any one of these trainings or do both – a training and a certification!

Deadline for reimbursement: June 30, 2024 

Benefits to training and certification  

  • Comply with new Colorado Supported Employment Service Provider requirements  
  • All courses are nationally recognized, therefore at completion, you will be added to a National registry and have documented credentials that will be honored even if you move to another state
  • Excellent resume builders! 
  • Network with colleagues across the state and nation 
  • Encouraging on-going learning 


ACRE Training

Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators - National membership organization for trainers & educators in the field of employment for people with disabilities. 

Focused on I/DD Service Providers


ACRE Testimonials

  • In-Person ACRE Training with CIS
    • Here's what Colorado Employment Support Professionals are saying about ACRE Training with CIS:
      • The training was interactive and everyone was engaged and willing to share their experiences. The stories and examples shared during class really brought things home. I feel that I have been given more tools to make me a better Employment Specialist.
      • All of the trainers that presented were very knowledgeable. I will be able to better assist the individuals we serve in understanding and establishing community-integrated employment.
      • I learned so much about the complexities of supporting people in their jobs. Loved the course, very valuable.
      • The information presented was thorough and the trainers made sure that we understood the material. I look forward to applying what I learned to help the people I serve.
      • ACRE training was informative and inspiring. I learned a lot about Employment First, and especially enjoyed connecting and sharing ideas with other support professionals.
      • Trainers made the course engaging and were very knowledgeable. This training will help further progress our new supported employment department.
  • Online ACRE Training with WISE
    • SSA On Demand: The modules are really well done and I like the short time frames which enable the user to absorb the material in bits and pieces to get to the whole. I was in an IEP meeting and a parent asked me about SSI and I was able to answer the question in more detail than I would have before taking the modules! ;o)
    • I loved the enthusiasm of the presenters! It made sometimes seemingly redundant information, interesting and relevant.
    • I look forward to using my new skills!

CESP Certification

Focused on I/DD

The Certified Employment Support Professional (CESP) certification recognizes individuals who have demonstrated a sufficient level of knowledge and skill to provide support to people with significant disabilities to get and keep jobs that are a good match.  The CESP Certification is nationally recognized, and those who complete this certification will have documented credentials that will be honored nationwide.


IPS Training

Focused on Service Providers in Mental Health Centers

Individual Placement and Support (IPS) Training is a good match for Employment Specialists who work for Mental Health Centers who have contracts with DVR and with Medicaid Regional Accountable Entities.

Offered by Colorado Office of Employment First

Offered by National IPS Employment Center

IPS Certification


IPS Testimonials

  • Colorado Employment First - IPS Training
    • The IPS training was extremely beneficial and informative! My team and I were able to learn about the IPS model from skilled providers and we feel more confident in our ability to provide IPS services that meet fidelity. Our clients are clearly benefiting from the IPS model and this success was due, in no small part, to the training provided by Colorado Office of Employment First.
    • At first, I was not excited about the idea of this training. I worried about the time commitment and wondered how much an online class could teach me. Deirdre proved me wrong. She found a way to keep the class fully engaged during every lesson. It is clear she cares about IPS and everyone involved with this work. The guests had relevant in-depth knowledge and provided guidance during their presentations and after the course ended. I have taken many ZOOM trainings over the last few months and this was the most informative one.


If you are interested in discovery and customized employment training, contact:


Get Reimbursed for Your Professional Development

Who can be reimbursed?

  • Answer:  Service providers who are actively providing Individualized Supported Employment services through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) or Home and Community Based Services (HCBS) Medicaid Waivers can be reimbursed for training and/or certification. To be eligible for reimbursement, you need to be set up to bill for Supported Employment services through the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Health First Colorado, and/or HCBS Waivers.

How much is reimbursed?

  • Answer:  Reimbursements will cover the cost of the training and certification, application fees, and staff time.
    • Training will be reimbursed up to $1,200.00
    • Certification will be reimbursed up to $300.00

How many people per agency can be reimbursed?

  • Answer:  As we continue to work with and get feedback from service provider agencies, we have determined we can accept applications for reimbursement for more than one person per agency.

    Submit the pre-approval form for each staff person who would like to request reimbursement of training and/or certification costs. Multiple requests may be approved based on the availability of funding.

    We will monitor and reassess quarterly to maintain statewide equity and access to reimbursements for Nationally Recognized Training and/or certifications.

When will reimbursement end?

  • Reimbursement funding will end June 30, 2024.  Individuals seeking reimbursement must complete all coursework and submit their documentation prior to June 30, 2024 to be reimbursed.  No extensions are available.

Questions? Contact HCPF_Supported.Employment@state.co.us

Pre-Approval Process

  • You must apply for pre-approval for training/certification prior to attending by completing the following form(s):
  • Submit current provider W-9 form
  • Submit supporting documents if seeking pre-approval for training not listed - include detailed documentation that all competencies are covered for required skills and knowledge
  • Email pre-approval form to: HCPF_Supported.Employment@state.co.us
  • You will receive an approval letter with a date the approval will expire or a denial letter within 30 days of submitting the pre-approval form
  • If approved, you must email evidence of completion of the training and/or certification and an invoice to the Department within 30 calendar days of completion. If your training/certification occurs in May or June, you must submit your completion documents by June 30, 2024 to be reimbursed.

Reimbursement Process - Ends June 30, 2024

  • After you have attended your pre-approved training/certification, you must submit evidence of completion and an invoice within 30 calendar days. If your training/certification occurs in May or June, you must submit your completion documents by June 30, 2024 to be reimbursed.
  • If you need an extension to complete the training or to submit completion documents, you must get approval for the extension BEFORE the 30-day timeframe is exhausted. If you miss the expiration date and do not have an extension, you will not be reimbursed.  No extensions are allowed after June 30, 2024.
  • Once we have evidence of successful completion and an invoice, you will receive reimbursement within 30 days.

The already approved trainings or certifications listed above are approved because:

  • nationally recognized training or certification includes standards that are set and approved by relevant industry groups and/or governing bodies nationwide,
  • training curricula includes detailed documentation of all competencies covered for required skills and knowledge,
  • certification is accredited by a nationally recognized entity.

Core Competencies

  • Core values and principles of Supported Employment
    • These include the priority of employment for all working-age persons with disabilities, and the belief that all people are capable of full participation in employment and community life. These values and principles are essential to successfully providing Supported Employment services.
  • Person-centered process
    • The process identifies the strengths, preferences, needs (clinical and support), and desired outcomes of the individual and individually identified goals and preferences related to relationships, community participation, employment, income and savings, healthcare and wellness, and education.
    • The Person-centered approach includes working with a team where the individual chooses the people involved on the team and receives necessary information and support to ensure he or she is able to direct the process to the maximum extent possible, effective communication, and appropriate assessment.
  • Individualized career assessment and planning
    • This process is used to determine the individual's strengths, needs, and interests to support career exploration and leads to effective career planning, including the consideration of necessary accommodations and benefits planning.
  • Individualized job development
    • Identifying and creating individualized competitive integrated employment opportunities for individuals with significant disabilities, which meet the needs of both the employer and the individual. This competency includes negotiation of necessary disability accommodations.
  • Individualized job coaching
    • Providing necessary workplace supports to individuals with significant disabilities to ensure success in competitive integrated employment and resulting in a reduction in the need for paid workplace supports over time.

Don't miss out on this opportunity! Act Now!

July 1, 2019

  • 5-Year Transition Period Begins
  • Reimbursement may be available for Supported Employment Professionals who need to obtain a nationally recognized training certificate and/or nationally recognized certification.

June 30, 2024

  • Transition Period Ends - Reimbursement Ends
  • All Supported Employment Professionals must have a nationally recognized training certificate or nationally recognized certification.


  • All Supported Employment Professionals must have a nationally recognized training certificate or nationally recognized certification.

New Employees

  • Have up to 2 years to acquire training certificate or certification.  Employees must be supervised by someone with either a training certificate or a certification.