Aligning with the Rehabilitation Services Administration’s (RSA’s) mission to provide leadership and resources to grantees and stakeholders, RSA created a series of training and technical assistance centers (TACs) and demonstration projects to assist state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies and their partners in providing VR and other services to individuals with disabilities. Each TAC focuses its efforts on a specific set of topics designed to provide universal, targeted, and intensive technical assistance (TA) for the purpose of improving services to individuals with disabilities to maximize their employment, independence and integration into the community and the competitive labor market.
Universal TA is information provided to independent users through their own initiative, resulting in minimal interaction with TAC staff and including one–time, invited or offered conference presentations by TAC staff. This category of TA also includes information or products, such as newsletters, guidebooks, or research syntheses, downloaded from the TAC’s website by independent users. Brief communications by TA center staff with recipients, either by telephone or email, are also considered universal, general training and TA.
Targeted TA is based on needs common to multiple recipients and not extensively individualized. A relationship is established between the TA recipient and one or more TAC staff. This category of TA includes one–time, labor–intensive events, such as facilitating strategic planning or hosting regional or national conferences. It can also include episodic, less labor–intensive events that extend over a period of time, such as facilitating a series of conference calls on single or multiple topics that are designed around the needs of the recipients. Facilitating communities of practice can also be considered targeted, specialized TA.
Intensive TA includes services often provided on–site and requiring a stable, ongoing relationship between the TAC program staff and the TA recipient. “Technical assistance services” are defined as negotiated series of activities designed to reach a valued outcome. Intensive TA is provided to TA recipients upon their request and in accordance with a plan developed between the TAC and the TA recipient. This category of TA should result in changes to policy, program, practice, or operations that support increased recipient capacity of improved outcomes at one or more systems levels.
Specific information about each TAC, how to receive TA services, latest projects and communities of practice can be obtained by visiting the individual TAC websites. RSA Project Officers can provide details about the grant and RSA’s role in the TA continuum of services.
- Technical Assistance Centers
- Job–Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (JDVRTAC)
- National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)
- Older Individuals who are Blind Training and Technical Assistance Center (OIBTTAC)
- Rehabilitation Training and Technical Assistance Center for Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance (PEQATAC)
- Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center – Targeted Communities (VRTAC–TC)
- Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Youth with Disabilities (VRTAC–Y)
- Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC)
- Demonstration Projects
Technical Assistance Centers
Job–Driven Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center (JDVRTAC)
The purpose of the JDVRTAC is to (a) improve the ability of State VR agencies to work with employers and providers of training to ensure equal access to and greater opportunities for individuals with disabilities to engage in competitive employment or training; (b) increase the number and quality of employment outcomes in competitive, integrated employment for VR–eligible individuals with disabilities, including broadening the range of occupations for such individuals in such settings, that result from job–driven strategies; and (c) increase the number of VR eligible individuals with disabilities in employer–driven job training programs.
National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)
The purpose of the NTACT is to assist state education agencies, local education agencies, State VR agencies and other VR service providers to implement evidence–based and promising practices to ensure students with disabilities, stay in school, progress in school, and graduate with knowledge, skills, and supports needed to succeed in postsecondary education and employment.
Selete Avoke, 202.245.7260, Selete.Avoke@ed.gov
Kristen Rhinehart–Fernandez, 202.245.6103, Kristen.Rhinehart@ed.gov
Older Individuals who are Blind Training and Technical Assistance Center (OIBTTAC)
The purpose of the Older Individuals who are Blind Training and Technical Assistance Center (OIBTTAC) is to provide training and TA to designated State agencies (DSAs) (the State agencies that provide VR services to individuals who are blind) that receive grant funding under the Independent Living Services for Older Individuals who are Blind (OIB) program and to other service providers that receive OIB program funding from DSAs to provide services to consumers. Such training and TA is designed to improve the administration, operation, and performance of the OIB program.
Sylvia Stinson-Perez, 662-325-7826, firstname.lastname@example.org
Mary Williams, 202.245.7586, Mary.Williams@ed.gov
Rehabilitation Training and Technical Assistance Center for Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance (PEQATAC)
The purpose of the Program Evaluation and Quality Assurance Training and Technical Assistance Center (PEQATAC) is to assist State VR agencies to improve performance management by building their capacity to carry out high–quality program evaluations and quality assurance practices that promote continuous program improvement.
Douglas Zhu, 202.245.6037, Douglas.Zhu@ed.gov
Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center – Targeted Communities (VRTAC–TC)
The purpose of the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities (VRTAC–TC) is to provide TA and training to upgrade and increase the competency, skills, and knowledge of VR counselors and other professionals to assist underserved individuals with disabilities living in economically disadvantaged communities to achieve competitive integrated employment outcomes.
Felipe Lulli, 202.245.7425, Felipe.Lulli@ed.gov
Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Youth with Disabilities (VRTAC–Y)
The purpose of the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Youth with Disabilities (VRTAC–Y) is to provide TA to State VR agencies to improve services to and outcomes of: (1) students with disabilities, as defined in section 7(37) of the Rehabilitation Act, who are in school and who are not receiving services under the IDEA; and (2) youth with disabilities, as defined in section 7(42) of the Rehabilitation Act, who are no longer in school and who are not employed, including dropouts.
Tara Jordan, 202.245.7341, Tara.Jordan@ed.gov
The Youth Pathways to Post-Secondary and Employment site brings together five different National Youth-Focused Training and Technical Assistance Centers, funded by the US Department of Education’s Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) and Office of Special Education Programs (OSEP), as well as the US Department of Labor’s Office of Disability and Employment Policy (ODEP). These five centers are working together to provide technical assistance and training to state/local agencies and programs to build successful pathways to postsecondary education and employment opportunities for youth and students with disabilities.
Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC)
The purpose of the Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC) is to provide training and TA to State VR agencies on the new statutory requirements imposed by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) of 2014. The WINTAC will develop and provide training and TA to State VR agency staff and related rehabilitation professionals and service providers to help them develop the skills and processes needed to meet the requirements of WIOA.
Jerry Elliot, 202.2457335, Jerry.Elliott@ed.gov
Automated Personalization Computing Project (APCP)
The purpose of the Automated Personalization Computing Project (APCP) is to improve outcomes for individuals with disabilities by increasing access to information and communication technologies (ICT) through automatic personalization of needed assistive technology (AT). Under the APCP, an information technology (IT) infrastructure would be created to allow users of ICT to store preferences in the cloud or other technology, which then would allow supported Internet–capable devices they are using to automatically run their preferred AT solutions. This IT infrastructure will ultimately provide better educational opportunities, ease transitions between school and the workforce, and improve productivity in the workplace.
Gregg Vanderheiden, 608.263.5788, GV@trace.wisc.edu
Douglas Zhu, 202.245.6037, Douglas.Zhu@ed.gov
Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities Model Demonstrations (Career Pathways)
The purpose of the Career Pathways for Individuals with Disabilities Model Demonstrations is to demonstrate promising practices in the use of career pathways in order to improve employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Specifically, the projects are designed to promote State VR agency partnerships in the development of and the use of career pathways to help individuals with disabilities eligible for VR services, including youth with disabilities, to acquire marketable skills and recognized postsecondary credentials and secure competitive integrated employment in high–demand, high–quality occupations.
Georgia Project Staff:
Shelly Kraft, 404.780.6961, Shelley.Kraft@ablegeorgia.ga.gov
Kentucky Project Staff:
Helga Gilbert, 502.429.4460, Helga.Gilbert@ky.gov
Nebraska Project Staff:
Janet Drudik, 402.484.1908, email@example.com
Felipe Lulli, 202.245.7425, Felipe.Lulli@ed.gov
The Substantial Gainful Activity or SGA Project
The SGA Project was funded by RSA in September, 2010, to identify, develop, launch, and test an employment model that would increase the likelihood that VR clients who receive only SSDI benefits would receive wages above SGA at closure. As written in the Notice Inviting Applications, the purpose was to identify practices under the control and influence of state VR agencies that would improve earnings outcomes for a very specific population of customers: non–blind SSDI only beneficiaries who are receiving benefits due to their own work history. The Demonstration was divided into two segments: an investigative and development segment (Phase 1) and an implementation and study segment (Phase 2). Phase 1 activities included case studies of 8 state VR agencies, administrative data analysis, and Delphi panels leading to the creation of an employment innovation model. Phase 2 involves implementation of the employment innovation model with the Kentucky and Minnesota State VR agencies.
Susan M. Foley, 617.287.4317, Susan.Foley@umb.edu
Jerry Elliott, 202.245.7335, Jerry.Elliott@ed.gov