Southeast TACE projects equip VR agencies to improve outcomes for job seekers with significant disabilities

November 7, 2012

According to a study conducted by the Southeast Technical Assistance and Continuing Education Center (TACE), its pilot projects have advanced vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies understanding and utilization of best practices in four southeastern states. VR agencies have a new option, thanks to the pilot projects, to improve outcomes for job seekers with the most significant disabilities.

Southeast TACE, through its Innovations Projects, collaborates with state leaders to use a pilot test approach to integrate selected best practices in VR systems. The pilot programs provide an incubator to learn and observe the practice in context, make needed adjustments, and allow it to gain traction before taking it to scale. Once a pilot is completed, Southeast TACE also provides supports to embed the practice into mainstream VR operations.

Five sites piloted Customized Employment, a program effective for job seekers with the most significant disabilities but as yet untested in these southeast agencies. An evaluation of the five projects concluded that, as a result of the pilot approach, “VR counselors in four states in the Southeast have a viable option for serving job seekers with the most significant disabilities where previously they had no effective option.”

Southeast TACE recently presented the study at a national summit (view Southeast TACE presentation: Evaluation of the Impact of Pilot Projects on State VR Agencies' Delivery Systems [PowerPoint]) on VR program evaluation and quality, and has completed a white paper discussing methods and findings, and offering recommendations for replication. The white paper: Impact of Innovations Projects on VR Adoption of Emerging Practices [PDF] is available on the Southeast TACE website, and it will be published in the spring issue of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation.

Southeast TACE, based in Atlanta and serving eight southeastern states, is a project of the Burton Blatt Institute at Syracuse University.

Read more about Customized Employment and its impact in Thriving in the Workplace -- and in Life.