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November 16, 2019

Client Center Stage: Vocation Plus Connections

At Shift3, we like to take a moment to acknowledge the clients with which we work, as well as their amazing successes due to the custom projects we’ve helped them complete. We work with a wonderful assortment of clients across a multitude of verticals. From health and fitness to social services, event centers to education, we’ve developed websites, mobile apps and large-scale enterprise applications in a number of industries. Here, we’d like to shine a client spotlight on Vocation Plus Connections.

A Sense of Fulfillment

Vocation Plus Connections (VPC) is a community-based vocational program that serves adults living with developmental disabilities in the Central Valley of California. The goal of VPC is to enhance the lives of individuals living with disabilities by creating opportunities for them and helping them gain independent living and vocational skills.

From helping someone find or maintain a job that is meaningful to them to providing them a space to learn how to advocate for themselves, VPC provides the highest quality of programs and services. Ultimately, they work to give their clients a sense of fulfillment in both their career and personal lives.

The Project

VPC serves 200+ clients on a daily basis, so scheduling is critical for their business. Their direct care staff transports clients from home to work and vice versa, sometimes with multiple stops depending on the routes. Their staff also assists clients throughout their program day to ensure that they’re at the right place at the right time.

Keeping all aspects of staff and client scheduling organized posed a unique challenge.

They decided they needed an automated scheduling system to safeguard the reliability of their day-to-day operations. Ideally, the solution would have to work with the foundation and structure they already had in place.

VPC central scheduling system for facilitating transportation and direct care staff is based around a constantly evolving tracking system that has to be consistently updated to reflect real-time changes. Originally, they updated their scheduling for direct care staff and task requests on a magnetic white board inside their office. As the business grew, their scheduling system just wasn’t scalable, nor an efficient use of the time for their scheduling staff. Additionally, they wanted an application that would allow for flexibility as their business model evolved.

The Solution

We began the project by going through a quick synoptic version of VPC’s scheduling process. Then it was critical that the team immerse themselves in VPC’s workflow, so they worked at their facility to observe them firsthand for several days. Understanding their daily workflow was crucial to us mapping out a planned framework to produce wireframes. After internalizing their approach, we started building a cloud-based application that mimicked their established procedures.

The app’s current build features templates that enable Vocation Plus Connections to schedule program itineraries several days in advance with ease. Working with multiple clients often means accommodating a wide variety of idiosyncratic tendencies and preferences. That process is made more complicated when a member of their staff calls in sick. Luckily, we developed a program that incorporates a user-friendly interface. The drag-and-drop feature facilitates sudden unplanned logistical changes with relative ease.

Another notable feature within the app is its ability to produce attendance calculations. VPC’s state reimbursements rely on the program’s attendance numbers, so that integration streamlined their billing procedures. They can now process relevant calculations efficiently and accurately.

While the initial build is complete, Shift3 has continued to help improve the app by adding new features in phase two of their project. Previously, the scheduling app would email daily schedules to their job coaches. Now, the app features a user portal that the direct care staff can access remotely. The portal lists their daily schedule without requiring the scheduling team to send each email manually. The platform’s latest integration is a messaging system. Creating a communication flow between direct care staff and the scheduling department helps both teams perform better.

This custom scheduling application was scoped out, designed, coded and customized over a one-year period. The development was written using MEAN Stack technologies (primarily AngularJS and Node.js programming languages.) Vocation Plus Connections is currently in another phase of expanding this application.

“We hired Shift3 because they could offer us a custom-built software solution that fit our business model and unique scheduling system. We tried other out-of-the-box solutions, but most were templates that we couldn’t use. Shift3 developed a smart, scalable business application that not only helped us automate our workflow, it enabled us to save upwards of 20  hours a week on scheduling and communications. The time we’re saving on scheduling has allowed us to create a video blog, expand on social media and better serve our clients.”

-Doug Middleton, Owner & CEO / Vocation Plus Connections

Overall Impact on VPC

Since using their scheduling application, VPC has grown the lives they help from 160 to 200+ (25% growth). Quality of service is at the epicenter of everything they do; now that VPC has their automated processes in place, they can put their focus on empowering the clients they serve and less on administration. Additionally, each scheduling coordinator is now able to engage with and enhance various parts of their organization. In a sense, multiple departments benefitted from the addition of their new application.

Read VPC’s review of Shift3 on

Automate your World

We worked with VPC to automate their scheduling procedures and simplify their processes through a customized web-based business application. How can we help you automate your business with technology?

If you think custom software can help you impact your business or market, give us a call at 559 560 3300 or email us at [email protected]. Read the full Vocation Plus Connections Case Study HERE.

If you’re interested in uncovering the tech possibilities available to your organization or want to find more ways to increase your ROI with technology, click this link to schedule some time with one of our experts.