Research centers established to support individuals with disabilities, their parents as they enter transition age, seek gainful employment
VCU President Michael Rao's State of the University Address 2020 - Recognition of Dr. Paul Wehman
In a cluttered brick building off Currie Street in Richmond, Robert Doss gets to work. His employer, Cabinetry and Construction Inc., moved to the new building near Virginia Union University over the summer and needed someone to organize the space. Enter Robert, a Richmond native with autism.
Customized Employment: Case Study Examples from the VCU-DRRP Research - Customizing jobs happens every day in businesses across the country. When the 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.
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.”
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.
VCU receives $8.8M to support employment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities - A Virginia Commonwealth University professor has received two major research awards totaling $8.8 million to coordinate a dozen studies across four universities that will focus on how to best provide training and employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
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?
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.
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.
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.