VRP advisors

A group of private vocational providers, firm owners, and L&I claim staff provide stakeholder feedback. Members of 2-year-long L&I projects, Reimagine Vocational Audit and Enhanced Vocational Services, transitioned onto this project.

VRP’s external and internal partners will change over time. This allows for fresh perspectives and provides relief to those who have been participating for extended periods.

The project advisors will meet during most months.

Role of the advisors

  • Help align project direction with strategic plans, priorities and vision.
  • Ensure that the voice of the broader vocational provider community is heard.
  • Provide input on workstream/team deliverables and status throughout the project.
  • Ensure a comprehensive perspective about needs, concerns, and challenges.

How project decisions will be made

  • The goal is to reach consensus through professional and thoughtful discussion.
  • L&I will consider advisors’ recommendations before making decisions to move the project forward.
  • L&I will seek business and labor input on important policy issues by consulting with the Vocational Subcommittee of the Workers' Compensation Advisory Committee (WCAC).
VRP Advisors
External advisors L&I staff
  • Chrissy Pierce, Sound Vocational
  • Cory Turner, Vocational Connections
  • Irina Razvina, Ability Vocational Consulting
  • Kaethe Long, Grant & Associates
  • Kari D'Aboy, Career Horizons
  • Ken Smith, Rainier Case Management
  • Leigh Haley, Strategic Consulting Services
  • Leslie Weaver, Disability Management & Consulting
  • Lisa Skinner, Precisionary
  • Michelle Jensen, Eastside Vocational Services
  • Ryan Guppy, Chief of Return to Work Partnerships (project business sponsor)
  • Vickie Kennedy, Asst. Director for Insurance Services (project executive sponsor)
  • Amanda Fisher, Return to Work Partnerships
  • Barbara Davis, Communications
  • Cheri Ward, Chief of Claims
  • Erich Hahn, Return to Work Partnerships
  • Janice Orcutt, Return to Work Partnerships
  • Kate Cashman, Strategic Business Office (project manager)
  • Richard Wilson, Return to Work Partnerships
  • Wayne Shatto, Return to Work Partnerships

Project teams (workstreams) with L&I leads

  • A series of teams, or workstreams, are responsible for delivering a portion of the project in concert with the rest of the teams.
  • Private vocational providers (VRCs) are working closely with L&I claim managers and vocational services specialists on the teams.
  • Teams will develop proposals that will go to the advisors' group for consideration.

The following 6 teams are underway now, with more to come later. Teams are meeting every other week, both electronically and in-person.

Vocational Recovery Referral Pilot Project

Lead: Kristine Ostler, L&I Return to Work Partnerships

Focus on helping workers return to work by creating a vocational recovery plan. VRCs and L&I claim managers in the pilot are testing emerging best practices with the goal of preventing work disability.

Best practices

Lead: Ilana Lehmann, L&I Return to Work Partnerships

Scouring the world for evidence-based best practices for decreasing work disability and increasing return-to-work outcomes. Reading, analysis and discussion are quickly moving the group toward a new way of doing voc.


Lead: Ilana Lehmann, L&I Return to Work Partnerships

Developing educational content that will foster the worker-centric model of worker engagement with VRCs as well as with L&I’s claim managers and vocational services specialists. In addition to live training, we are creating online learning resources.

Firm and VRC registration and requirements

Lead: Erin Moncada, L&I Return to Work Partnerships

Improve the registration process to maintain a pool of experienced VRCs who engage workers in return-to-work efforts and consistently provide quality vocational services.

Referral process

Lead: Bambi Sotak, L&I Claims

Design an impartial, consistent vocational referral model, promoting appropriate and effective outcomes, and recognizing and encouraging quality work.

Complaint process: Escalations/de-escalations

Lead: Melissa Sutherland, L&I Return to Work Partnerships

Develop better ways to identify inconsistencies with quality vocational work and improve escalation strategies to educate and mentor VRCs.

Related Resources