Special Appointment Program - Special Appointment Process for Clients of Vocational Rehabilitation to Access State Jobs


The purpose of the Special Appointment Program is to provide clients of Vocational Rehabilitation with severe disabilities increased access to positions in Maine State government. 1


In place of the established examination process, participants in the Special Appointment Program will be appointed to positions in an acting capacity basis for a trial employment period in accordance with Chapter 8, Section 6 of the Civil Service Rules.

The following conditions must be met before a Special Appointment can be made:

  • The candidate must meet the established minimum qualifications for the position;
  • The candidate has been evaluated by a qualified professional who has certified that the candidate has the capability to learn or achieve the knowledge and skills required to perform the work required;
  • The environment where the work will be performed has been evaluated by a qualified professional who has certified that the candidate can, with proper support and training, learn to perform the required work in this environment without injury to self or others.

Although the acting capacity trial employment period can last up to one year, participants will be transferred from acting capacity to regular employment status as soon as they attain the level of performance that is acceptable for the position. The acting capacity trial employment period may be terminated at any point that the supervisor, with input from the agency Special Appointment representative and Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) or Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP), determines that the employee is unable to attain a level of performance that is acceptable for the position. Participants in the program will be provided ongoing or as needed support services during the trial employment period through the Bureau of Rehabilitation.

Two Entry Points for Special Appointment

There are two ways in which a candidate can be matched to a potential Special Appointment position in State government.

1. The first is through a direct placement utilizing the following process:

  • The candidate’s Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) or Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP) identifies a posted vacancy as a potential placement and contacts the VR liaison who in turn contacts the hiring agency Special Appointment representative (H.R. Liaison);
  • The H.R. Liaison will contact the hiring supervisor to arrange a meeting between the supervisor and the VRC or CRP to discuss the details of the position requirements;
  • The supervisor and H.R. Liaison determine whether to interview the candidate without considering other applicants, to interview the candidate in addition to other applicants including transfers and demotions, or not to consider the candidate.
  • At the time a candidate is placed into a Special Appointment acting capacity position, the H.R. Liaison will prepare a written agreement outlining the conditions of the appointment to be signed by all parties.

2. The alternative way is through a Situational Assessment, which is a short-term trial work experience to determine that the client has the requisite skills and abilities to succeed in a given position. There is no cost to the employer for this Situational Assessment nor does there need to be a vacant position. The only requirements are that there be work available to give the client a meaningful work experience and that the supervisor be willing to work with the client and the VRC or CRP to both assign work and assess competency. The process for Situational Assessments is as follows:

  • In order to explore the possibility of a Situational Assessment for a client, the VR Liaison (on behalf of the VRC or CRP) contacts the appropriate H.R. Liaison to identify a job class for the Situational Assessment;
  • Once the agency has determined that the client meets the minimum qualifications for the position, the H.R. Liaison identifies a suitable supervisor and facilitates communication between the VRC or CRP and the supervisor.
  • When all are in agreement, the Situational Assessment is completed with oversight from the VRC or CRP. An Evaluation Report is completed by the VRC or CRP with input from the supervisor.
  • If the client has successfully completed the Situational Assessment, the H.R. Liaison will complete a Special Appointment Certificate for future vacancies. As vacancies occur within that agency, the H.R. Liaison will assure that any client with a Special Appointment Certificate is given consideration for an interview in the same manner as described in the direct placement above.
  • If the Special Appointment Certificate is for a position that exists in other State agencies, the H.R. Liaison will forward the Special Appointment Certificate to the H.R. Liaisons in those agencies for consideration for future vacancies.

Ongoing Contact

Once a placement has been made by either direct placement or Situational Assessment, the VRC or CRP will maintain contact with both the employee and the supervisor to determine whether the placement is going smoothly and will participate in the required monthly performance reviews during the trial employment period. The trial employment period will be terminated if the employee is unable to attain a level of performance that is acceptable to the hiring agency. The decision to terminate the placement will be made by the supervisor with input from both the H.R. Liaison and the VR Liaison with input from the VRC or CRP.

1 Exceptions to the requirement that a participant be a client of the Bureau of Rehabilitation Services may be granted by the State EEO Coordinator if there is a qualified rehabilitation professional employed by the State of Maine involved with the applicant.