Projects of ExploreVR

The Rural Youth Apprenticeship Development Project (RYAD)

The RYAD Project promotes the development and advancement of State and American Indian vocational rehabilitation (VR) apprenticeships programs for youth with disabilities in underserved rural communities.

Over the course of five years, RYAD aims to disseminate rural-specific knowledge translation tools and resources, promote VR partnerships with businesses and workforce systems, and increase the number of youth apprenticeship programs in rural areas where there are higher rates of people with disabilities who face lower rates of employment.

Download the project fact sheet to learn more about the RYAD Project.

Funder Information: The RYAD Project is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant # 90DPK00006-01-00).

Scale-Up Progressive Employment (PE)

The Progressive Employment (PE) model is a dual-customer, team approach that uses work-based learning  strategies to meet the needs of businesses and jobseekers with barriers to employment. Building upon past Institute for Community Inclusion research to define, replicate, and evaluate the PE model, the Scale-Up PE development project will focus on facilitating widespread adoption of the model.

Download the project fact sheet to learn more about Scale-Up PE.

Funder Information: Scale-Up Progressive Employment is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR grant #90IFDV0019).

Program on Innovative Rehabilitation Training on Employer Engagement (PIRTEE)

PIRTEE helps improve the vocational rehabilitation (VR) system’s capacity to engage employers by creating and delivering innovative training for the VR system, rehabilitation professionals and paraprofessionals, and faculty for use in academic rehabilitation counseling programs.

PIRTEE offers multi-modal trainings that advance the skills and competencies of VR professionals, improves agency services to business, and enhances opportunities for individuals with disabilities served by the VR system.

Download the project fact sheet to learn more about PIRTEE.

Funder Information: Program on Innovative Rehabilitation Training on Employer Engagement is funded by Rehabilitation Services Administration Grant (RSA) #H263C190012.

Job-Driven VR Technical Assistance Center (JD-VRTAC)

The JD-VRTAC strives to identify, adapt, embed, and sustain job-driven practices that lead to improved employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The Center creates VR-specific sustainable models of job-driven practices and supports businesses to find and retain productive workers. Outcomes and strategies from the JD-VRTAC will develop a knowledge base on the four topical areas of 1) building and maintaining employer relations, 2) services to employers, 3) labor market information, and 4) services to customized training providers.

The project activities focus on:

  • Building state VR agencies’ capacity to improve and expand job-driven employment practices for consumers;
  • Using and building upon promising and emerging job-driven strategies;
  • Providing three types of technical assistance (TA): intensive TA, targeted/specialized TA, and universal/general TA; and
  • Disseminating toolkits and materials pertaining to the use of job driven strategies.

Project partners include:

For more information about the states currently participating in JD-VRTAC intensive technical assistance, download the JD-VRTAC State VR Agencies 2015-2017.

Download a JD-VRTAC Project Fact Sheet (PDF) (Word)

Funder Information: The Job-Driven VRTAC is funded by Rehabilitation Services Administration Grant (RSA) #H264A140002.

 

Vocational Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Demand-Side Strategies (Demand-Side-RRTC)

The Demand-Side RRTC produces knowledge about state VR agencies’ capacity for assessing and meeting business needs. The Demand-Side RRTC engages three state VR agencies in unique on-site laboratories and conducts national surveys, case studies, and secondary data analysis to learn how state VR agencies can meet employer demands in changing economic environments. Outcomes and strategies from the Demand-Side RRTC can be used to inform state VR agencies’ procedures and policies around improving business intelligence, serving the dual-customer, meeting industry demands, and utilizing labor market information, as well as other factors.

The project includes research and technical assistance activities:

Research Activities

  • The Alabama Business Intelligence Study on integrating labor market data and trends in the Alabama Department of Rehabilitation Services Dashboard
  • The Nebraska Middle Skill Certificate Study, which expands training options to meet demand for middle skills workers in healthcare and other industry sectors
  • The Vermont Progressive Employment Model, on investigating this dual-customer approach with four state VR agencies
  • National Survey of State VR Agencies on demand-side strategies
  • Index of Case Studies on Demand-Side Strategies and Dual-Customer Practices, which examines promising practices across the country
  • VR Outcomes and State Level Labor Needs, which includes secondary data analysis

Technical Assistance Activities

  • Topical communities of practice and learning collaboratives
  • Intensive, on-site or distance/on-demand TA
  • Custom data analysis and evaluation support

Project partners include:

Funder Information: The VR-RRTC on Demand-Side Strategies is funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) Grant # H133B120002.

 

Vocational Rehabilitation Research and Technical Assistance Center on Vocational Rehabilitation Program Management (RTAC)

The RTAC on VR Program Management (RTAC) identifies, tests, and disseminates VR program management practices that improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. VR agencies can benefit from RTAC by accessing exemplars, tools, and guidance on how to implement these effective practices within their unique contexts. The RTAC has adopted and adapted a learning collaborative method to initiate a cross-VR strategy for problem solving, identification and application of practice-based solutions, and evaluation of related outcomes.

RTAC generates new knowledge by identifying effective practices in the areas of Quality Assurance (QA), Human Resources (HR), Strategic Planning, and more.

Project partners include:

For more information about the RTAC Learning Collaborative VR agencies, download RTAC Learning Collaboratives on VR Program Management (PDF)

Funder Information: The RTAC is a cooperative agreement with the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR).

 

The Substantial Gainful Activity Project (SGA)

The Substantial Gainful Activity (SGA) Project builds the capacity of VR organizations to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities receiving Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) benefits. The SGA Project produces new knowledge through administrative data analysis of state VR agency employment outcomes for SSDI consumers, oversight by the Delphi Expert Panel, and case studies from high performing state VR agencies. VR agencies and partner organizations can benefit from the SGA Project through a rigorous examination of agency delivery mechanisms, trainings and manuals for implementing strategies, and on-demand technical assistance.

The SGA Project includes four phases:

  1. Identification of high-performing state VR agencies, leading to in-depth case studies of their practices;
  2. Use of a Delphi Panel to review candidate practices and to design a VR employment services model that enables SSDI recipients to return to employment at or above SGA;
  3. Implementation, testing, and evaluation of the model in selected state VR agencies that will receive substantive training and technical assistance; and
  4. Dissemination and replication, including the development of training materials, curricula, procedures, and on-demand technical assistance initiatives

Project partners include:

Funder Information: The SGA Project is funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), Office of Special Education and Rehabilitative Services, U.S. Department of Education Grant # H235L100004.

 

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR-RRTC)

ExploreVR

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Vocational Rehabilitation (VR-RRTC) builds the capacity of public VR programs to improve employment outcomes for people with disabilities. The ExploreVR portal was created as part of this project in order to provide a national hub for VR policy data, research, and operations, as well as for training and technical assistance. VR agencies, directors, researchers, and policy makers can contribute to VR-RRTC’s data and research on ExploreVR by participating in case studies, service provider surveys, and state agency surveys. VR personnel can access resources to inform programmatic decisions and policy by reviewing research findings.

The VR-RRTC works to increase knowledge about:

  • Existing research on the VR system
  • Each state’s employment constellation (the map of its employment service provider
  • agencies), and the role of the VR program within that constellation
  • Key characteristics of each state’s VR program
  • Effective VR agency practices for managing outreach, service access, and case flow to serve
  • individuals with the most significant disabilities on a priority basis
  • Effective VR agency practices for improving employment outcomes for individuals with
  • mental illness, and for those with developmental disabilities.

Project partners include:

Funder Information: The VR-RRTC is a cooperative agreement with the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) and the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) of the US Department of Education, Grant # H133B070001.

IT’S EMPLOYMENT

IT’S EMPLOYMENT provides online training to VR professionals on how to improve their employment outcomes for job seekers with intellectual disabilities (ID). Trainings includes an 8-week intensive program, mini lessons, and academic courses. IT’S EMPLOYMENT also coordinates yearlong state learning collaboratives with VR agencies to enhance partner collaboration and knowledge on best practices for VR services for individuals with ID.

Over the course of this 5-year project, IT’S EMPLOYMENT is working with a technical expert panel of self-advocates and VR professionals to get feedback and suggestions on the development of all training course content and technical assistance.

For more information about IT’S EMPLOYMENT trainings, visit the training page.

Funder Information: IT’S EMPLOYMENT is funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration innovation training grant #H263C190011.