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 - Sept 24

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Customizing Employment: Strengths of a Sports Fan - By April Lynch. Who says you can't find employment based on your interests and hobbies? Identifying client strengths and motivations to obtain employment can be a huge contributing factor to job retention and independence. This webcast will take a closer look at the process of an employer thinking outside of the box to customize a position to match how the client's strengths and personality best fit the work culture and environment.

Upcoming Webcast - Oct 8

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Self-Advocacy and Autism - This webcast will continue to discuss the core components of self-advocacy., emphasizing the importance of disclosure, individual strengths, and interests as well as civil rights. Essential self-advocacy theory will be connected directly to strategies people with ASD use to self-advocate. An emphasis on self-advocacy across the lifespan will be made, and resources and ideas will be shared to help attendees get started with self-advocacy supports.

The Virginia Ability Forum: Ability First!

The Virginia Ability Forum

Wednesday, September 25, 2019, 8:00am-12pm - REGISTRATION NOW AVAILABLE - Community College Workforce Alliance On the Parham Road Campus of Reynolds Community College Workforce Development & Conference Center 1651 E. Parham Road, Henrico, VA,

House Votes To End Subminimum Wage

The United States Capitol Building

For the first time, federal lawmakers have approved legislation that would end a practice allowing employers to pay people with disabilities less than minimum wage. The U.S. House of Representatives voted 231 to 199 Thursday to pass the Raise the Wage Act, a bill chiefly designed to increase the federal minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2025. Tucked inside the legislation, however, is a provision that would phase out subminimum wage for workers with disabilities.

Terry's Case Study


Disability and Rehabilitation Research Project on Customized Employment - Social Capital has multiple definitions; however, social connectedness is the fundamental premise. Social Capital refers to relationships, social networks and how people help one another. Relationships are important to a person’s well-being and may generate Social Capital. Social Capital may be important for anyone’s career path. Many job seekers with and without disabilities obtain employment because of who they know or who their network of friends know. This case study highlights how one young woman found her customized job using Social Capital.

Fact Sheet

DRRP Fact Sheet

Customized Employment Topics: Social Capital - Relationships form as people interact with each other at home, work, and in the community. Relationships help create a quality life and are critical to a person’s well-being. There is data indicating that positive relationships contribute to longevity and happiness. Physically being in the community; however, does not mean being of the community, or said another way, belonging to a community. Belonging takes more than a physical presence. A community is defined as the places where people have the opportunity to interact and form connections; where trust in and respect for each other can build; and where the norm is to help each other. These characteristics of relationships connect individuals and result in Social Capital.

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.

Families, advocates and providers hold dialogue on autism at RTD's Public Square

Dr. Wehman speaking at a Public Square forum

Addressing questions about autism and people who are diagnosed with the developmental disorder, attendees of the Richmond Times-Dispatch’s 76th Public Square on Wednesday said there needs to be more social inclusion, robust advocacy and planning for the future. Nearly 150 people attended the forum at the newspaper’s downtown offices, including experts, people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, their families, doctors, and direct service providers.

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.