Business Connections in the News

    Kyle and Trey work for Dominion Energy as HR process assistants. After one year on the job, they share their story.

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    "I can and I will," has been Trey"s mantra throughout his life. In a CBS interview, he explains how he applies this to his work with Dominion.

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    Side by side portraits of Kyle and Trey

    Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employer Practices for Individuals with Disabilities

    The RRTC-EP investigates the most successful business practices which companies utilize to hire and retain workers with disabilities. The project includes four studies, the largest takes place in partnership with Bon Secours Virginia Health System, a long term leader in diversity and hiring of persons with disabilities.

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    Woman in wheelchair in an office.

    Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project on Customized Employment

    The VCU-DRRP helps young people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, including autism spectrum disorder, to achieve competitive employment based on the individual's choices, interests and skills. The project's overall objective is to test the effectiveness of customized employment as an intervention to facilitate employment for youth with disabilities.

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    Two people looking at an iPad.

    VCU Autism Center for Excellence

    VCU-ACE is a university-based technical assistance, professional development, and educational research center for Autism Spectrum Disorder in the Commonwealth of Virginia. VCU-ACE improves services and supports for individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) by promoting the implementation of research-based practices in schools and the community through training, technical assistance, research, and collaboration.

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    Two people looking at an iPad.

    Center on Transition Innovations

    The Center on Transition Innovations (CTI) at Virginia Commonwealth University is a centralized statewide portal for information, resources, demonstration, and research for educators and other stakeholders in the transition of youth with disabilities. CTI provides evidence-based resources and information along with emerging practices in the field. The results of research studies and demonstration projects conducted here in Virginia help us shape the ongoing work of CTI.

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    Two people looking at an iPad.

    Work Incentives Planning & Assistance National Training and Data Center

    The Virginia Commonwealth University National Training and Data Center (NTDC) provides comprehensive training and technical assistance to Work Incentives Planning and Assistance (WIPA) projects, the Ticket to Work Help Line, and community partners to ensure accurate and timely support for beneficiaries on the road to employment and financial independence.

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    Two people looking at an iPad.
Families, advocates and providers hold dialogue on autism at Richmond Time Dispatch's Public Square - Dr. Paul Wehman, Director of VCU's Autism Center for Excellence and of the VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, served as a panelist at the forum.
Latest news

Upcoming Webcast - Oct 22

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Intern to Employee: Making Dreams become Reality - By Crystal Hence. Project SEARCH interns are allotted a chance to internship in a hospital setting, which gives them a chance to fulfill dreams and open up possibilities to different career choices. Internships also provide unique opportunities for employers to experience an individual's skill set before hiring them. This webcast explains how one intern found his dream job in the medical field and how he transitioned from an intern to an employee.

Fact Sheet

DRRP Fact Sheet

Customized Employment Topics: Interviewing - Conducting interviews is usually a part of providing employment services to individuals with disabilities. Typically, there is an intake interview during which people seeking services are asked about their goals for employment and other relevant information. However, interviewing should not be used to “evaluate” the job seeker with disabilities, which is a very important distinction when using interviewing as part of customized employment services. Interviewing in the context of customized employment is a way to learn about a person’s life story and experiences. What meaning do these experiences have for the person and how may they impact employment?

Randy's Case Study


Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project on Customized Employment - Randy received a high school diploma in 2018 and shortly afterward began receiving customized employment services. During his final year in high school, he tutored several young children at an agency that offers tutoring services in reading, math, and science to students in kindergarten through 12th grade. Randy provided tutoring sessions for approximately six hours a week and helped with various tasks in the agency’s thrift store. The thrift store job duties included handling the cash register, organizing products, and cleaning around the store. In addition to tutoring, Randy also had experience at a community organization helping youth with Autism in recreational activities. He had volunteered for several summers as a summer camp counselor.

Upcoming Webcast - Oct 30

Laptop with webcast on screen

Customized Employment: Case Study Examples from the VCU-DRRP Research Customizing jobs happens every day in businesses across the country. When skills and interests of job seekers with disabilities are matched with work tasks that meet a business need, it is a win-win for all involved. This webcast will highlight customized employment case studies through the perspective of an employee with a disability, their manager and employment specialist. Hear how an individual's interests and skills were identified, a business was approached and tasks identified and finally how the new employee was supported at work.

Upcoming Webcast - Nov 12

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Systems to Support Inclusion - Administrators from Evendale Elementary will share systems the school has in place to support all students of all abilities in an inclusive environment. This session will provide examples of ways teachers, service providers, support staff and administration work together on IEP development, service delivery, classroom supports, and data monitoring.

Project Achieve Services to Women Vets with TBI & SCI in Postsecondary Education

Project Achieve - Women veterans represent 14% of Virginia’s veteran population, leading the nation with the highest percentage of women veterans. This number is expected to increase over the next 20 years. Despite their presence in Virginia, little is known about the postsecondary support needs unique to women student veterans, particularly those with disabilities such as Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). To fill this gap, CTI is implementing a demonstration project, Project Achieve, to provide specialized services to women veterans with TBI and SCI in postsecondary education.

CTI Grant Aims to Improve Transfer Student Success

Left: CTI's Christine Groah & Elizabeth Getzel

The VCU Center on Transition Innovations (CTI), part of the VCU School of Education’s Rehabilitation Research and Training Center, has received a $360,000 ECMC Foundation grant to study the mental health challenges and needs of community college students. “This study is a great opportunity for VCU, especially considering its commitment to transfer student success,” said Elizabeth E. Getzel, CTI director and Principal investigator in the study. “This commitment is evidenced by the establishment of the VCU Transfer Center and the development of transfer maps with four community colleges.”

Business Connections Spotlight

Crystal Hence and Jalen

Crystal Hence has all the skills a good job coach should have. She is the sole job coach for Project SEARCH at St. Francis Medical Center, where she works with an average of six students at a time. She is persistent in her job leads and not shy about approaching employers.

RRTC EP - Employment Services

Project Search student working in a hospital

Business Connections at VCU is a supported employment service provider for individuals in the Metro Richmond, Fredericksburg, and Warsaw areas, assisting individuals with disabilities with finding employment and providing ongoing support to clients who obtain employment. Established in 1983, the Virginia Commonwealth University RRTC provides resources for professionals, individuals with disabilities, and their representatives. Our team of nationally and internationally renowned researchers is committed to developing and advancing evidence-based practices to increase the hiring and retention for individuals with disabilities.