The Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation

Powering advocacy from the Content Cloud

female case worker at colorado department of vocational rehabilitation explaining something to a woman in a wheelchair
Colorado Division of Vocational Rehabilitation.png





Case management
Agency and partner collaboration
Field operations management


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active cases


pages digitized

4 icon problem 2
  • Managing casework on paper was an extreme hindrance to field work and remote work
  • Citizen PII must be kept protected, even before it’s entered into the official case management software
  • Disposition of sensitive content is subject to very strict rules: five years, no more, no less
4 icon solution 0
  • With a centralized, cloud-based location for all content, caseworkers and employees can work from anywhere
  • By integrating all of the agency’s content processes into the Content Cloud, files are protected even before they become part of “official cases”
  • With Box, the agency can automate retention and disposition policies

Citizen PII kept confidential, no matter what

Anyone with a disability who wants to work, can work, regardless of the type or severity of their disability.

This is the philosophy of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation at the Colorado Department of Labor and Education. The Colorado DVR helps people with disabilities find jobs (and keep their current ones) by connecting citizens with counselors and providing a suite of valuable services.

New cases typically come into the agency from a referral, and the first touchpoint is an admin, who handles the initial processing of information. Technically, it’s not a “case” yet — the conversation is in “pre-case mode” until a counselor gets involved to determine eligibility. At that point, they open up an official case in the case management system, creating more documentation along the way.

Case or no case, most of this information is citizen PII, and it must be kept private and confidential at all times. Working with Box as a centralized place for securing content has enabled the Colorado DVR to ensure this confidentiality from the moment an inquiry is made.

simplified visual of case worker uploading case and sharing the confidential link with another employee

The pressing move to digitize content

When Mark Sanner, Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Business Technology Manager, came on board a few years ago, case paperwork was still literally that: paper. We’re talking filing cabinets, folders, staplers, and paper clips. The agency needed to get with the digital times, particularly as pandemic shutdowns kicked in and offices closed.

The Colorado DVR needed a secure electronic solution that would keep all information compliant with state and national laws, which include strict retention rules. Typically, the agency has to hang onto case content for five years after a case has closed — then dispose of it. Sanner sought a centralized, cloud-based solution that would enable dispersed teams to be remote and versatile without creating a scourge of information silos.

Mobility and responsive technology were important factors as well. Casework is fieldwork by its very nature. Sanner says, “Our primary purpose for a content management system was to enable remote workers, enable a hybrid workplace, and still have the information we need to be effective in doing our jobs while working with citizens.”

Powerful search, critical integrations, protection from prying eyes

The Colorado DVR has 250 employees, and all of them touch content in one way or another. When the agency moved to Box, it was important to be able to surface the right content to the right people at the right times.

By setting specific permissions and using retention rules, the agency ensures that content is only accessible to those who really need it. “Another great thing about Box that helps us is the powerful search capability,” Sanner says. “It allows pretty much anyone to get the information they need quickly.”

Integration with Google’s suite of workspace tools, including Gmail, Sheets, Docs, and Slides, was also a selling point for Box. Any content created via these apps automatically lives in Box — even Gmail content, via a custom app. Sanner says, “Box seems committed to accessibility. It’s easy to use, yet powerful — a good upside for collaboration. With Box, we can be more effective in the digital world.”

External sharing, without compromise

Case work involves outside services. The Colorado DVR often coordinates with external partners and has to have a way to share client information securely with those partners. With Box, the agency can set up folders for specific vendors and partners, gathering and sharing information via those permissioned folders.

In fact, external sharing works so well with the Content Cloud that Sanner envisions using Box to share content directly with citizens about their cases. He says, “Collaboration is an upside, and we still need to take advantage of some API integrations.”

web of file and user interactions in the content cloud

Taking the most advantage of the Content Cloud

Today, the Colorado DVR has around 10,000 active cases, and digitizing what amounted to about a million-and-a-half physical pages was a heavy lift. The agency spent six months scanning every last sheet of paper with the help of a Box partner API, Image TrustAccess Corp.

Along the way, Sanner enlisted Box Consulting to help get employees familiar with using Box. Colorado DVR’s excellent Professional Learning and Development team also built out an employee resource guide so agency employees can refer back to it and learn at their own speed. Today, every new employee gets a Box account upon starting the job.

In the future, Sanner is hoping to adopt Box Relay and Box Governance to automatically close cases and dispose of content when it hits the five-year mark. He also imagines Box facilitating automatic creation of digital case folders as soon as a case is created in the case management system — a great use of Box APIs to connect content with the agency’s CMS vendor.

Solving problems for people with disabilities — from anywhere

The only thing keeping caseworkers constrained to an office paradigm in the past, besides convention, was paper documentation. Now that all content is held securely in the cloud, work can truly be done anywhere. And that’s good, because a recent company survey showed that the vast majority of staff prefer and appreciate working from home and this benefit also helps recruitment.

The top three things the Colorado DVR loves about Box, according to Mark Sanner:

  1. Easy to secure
  2. Easy to manage storage
  3. Easy to get up and running — and it enables remote work

Box enables how we work nowadays. It's so secure and easy to administer — and it's easy to use.

Mark Sanner; DVR Business Technology Manager; Colorado Department of Labor and Employment

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