The Center on Transition to Employment for Youth with Disabilities (2011 – 2016) – The Center was designed to research and spotlight the strategies and circumstances that produce optimal employment and career achievement for youth with disabilities. It conducted six discrete studies on transition to employment topics, focusing on three groups of youth who tend to have the lowest employment outcomes: youth with intellectual and other developmental disabilities, youth with emotional or mental health disabilities, and minority youth with disabilities. A key purpose of the Center was to contribute knowledge for ongoing academic analysis, policy development, and in-the-field practices that promote increased employment success for youth with disabilities. TransCen, together with the Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research Training Center, partnered in the operation of the Center, which was funded by the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration of Community Living (ACL) as a Disability and Rehabilitation Research and Related Project (DRRP). (www.transitiontoemployment.org)
Integrated Employment Toolkit – The U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) unveiled a new Integrated Employment Toolkit to promote integrated employment as an avenue to economic self-sufficiency for people with significant disabilities. TransCen was awarded a contract to maintain the toolkit.
Hospitality & Disability – The ADA National Network launched this initiative to promote accessibility and opportunity for people with disabilities within the hospitality industry. Materials and services were designed to assist lodging and food service employers recruit, hire, and retain qualified workers with disabilities. The Mid-Atlantic ADA Center, maintained by TransCen, is one of ten regional ADA Centers located throughout the United States. (www.ADAhospitality.org)
Australia – Working with partners at Ability Employment (now Ability Tasmania Group), TransCen’s WorkLink staff began developing a series of customized webinars built on past years of in-the-field work with partners across Australia.
Add Us In was a partnership between TransCen, the Hispanic Business Foundation of Maryland, the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County, and the Montgomery County Workforce Investment Board. The initiative was designed to identify and develop strategies to increase employment opportunities within the small business community for individuals with disabilities. TransCen and its collaborative partners increased employment opportunities within the small business community in Montgomery County for individuals with disabilities by connecting with over 200 small businesses, facilitating approximately 85 internships and/or direct hires for individuals with disabilities, and serving over 100 youth total since the launch of the project. The project was funded by the Department of Labor’s Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP).
Iowa Model Employment Transition Sites (METS) – In 2010 Iowa’s Department of Education, Vocational Rehabilitation Services, Coalition for Integrated Employment and various local community partners came together to create a model to improve paid employment outcomes of youth with disabilities exiting high school. This collaboration created METS, an exploratory initiative which sought to assess the needs of and define the infrastructure necessary to build and implement a system of transition services and supports across Iowa. The goal of the project was to develop a replicable framework that school teams throughout the state could use to build transition programs that prepared students with disabilities for paid employment. TransCen staff provided technical assistance to the METS team from 2011-2015.
TransCen Online – Made possible by a grant from the Johnson Scholarship Foundation, we initiated the development of an online learning venue for professionals working with youth transitioning from school. Offering courses, webinars, and information sessions on a range of topics, we provided an opportunity for busy professionals to enhance their effectiveness assisting individuals with disabilities obtain employment.
Maryland Seamless Transition Collaborative (MSTC) – A project led by the Maryland Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services (DORS) was designed to improve post-secondary outcomes for students with disabilities through a sequential delivery of specific transition service components beginning in early high school. It featured the collaboration of transition partners, resulting in uninterrupted, seamless transitions from publicly-supported secondary education to employment and/or post-secondary education.
Web-Based Professional Development – A partnership with Georgia State University, where TransCen developed a national certificate in Employment Services recognized by the Association for Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE). TransCen also designed and conducted an online academic certificate program on job development and job placement, in conjunction with the University of Maryland’s Rehabilitation Counseling Program, for professionals employed in community rehabilitation agencies and state rehabilitation departments.
VETS Service Learning Project engaged youth with disabilities in community service opportunities, including collecting oral histories from veterans with disabilities for the national Veterans History Project. TransCen paired the work with the connection to veterans’ employment programs so that the youth had an innovative option to meet the service learning requirement for high school graduation in Maryland.
Maryland Department of Disabilities Project Map, through a contract with TransCen, the Maryland Department of Disabilities initiated a project to map all of the resources available in the state for transitioning youth with disabilities and to develop a strategic plan for interagency collaboration for sharing these resources.
Brazil – A formal Cooperative Agreement was signed in 2006 with Brazil-based organizations Associação para Valorização e Promoção de Excepcionais (Association for Valuing and Promotion of Exceptionals) and Instituto Brasiliero de Empreendedorismo Social (Institute of Social Entrepreneurialism). The goal was to establish and maintain an exchange of experience, knowledge, professional expertise, and trends in rehabilitation and management, with the specific intent to improve the quality of life and inclusion of persons with disabilities in both the U.S. and Brazil.
Accelerated Benefits Demonstration was a large scale national research project, funded by the Social Security Administration and led by MDRC, to test whether access to health benefits for new Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) beneficiaries with no other insurance would lead to better health and employment outcomes and reduced reliance on SSDI benefits. Another objective of the project was to learn if employment and health outcomes could be enhanced by adding a set of support services designed to improve health functioning, life activities, and work capacity.
The Maryland Veterans Employment Partnership was a model for integrating employment service efforts on behalf of veterans in Montgomery County, Maryland. In collaboration with the Department of Labor’s Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS), the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation, the Veteran’s Workforce Investment Program, and Way Station, Inc., TransCen assisted veterans with significant employment barriers become employed in the civilian workforce.
Maryland Disability Program Navigator Initiative expanded the workforce development system’s capacity to serve customers with disabilities in One-Stop Career Centers. The program provided disability “navigators” who worked with One-Stop staff, partners, and businesses to provide accessible employment and training services. TransCen provided training, support, and technical assistance to disability navigators in each of the participating regions.
Youth Transition Demonstration National Evaluation was a project which evaluated the efficacy of interventions designed to result in improved post-school outcomes for youth with disabilities. TransCen was a partner in this evaluation, which was led by Mathematica Policy Research, Inc., and sponsored by the U.S. Social Security Administration.
Imagine Working! created opportunities for people with disabilities to participate in recreational theatre and interactive workshops. Combining video and live performances, participants created tools that guided people with disabilities to search for and obtain meaningful employment. Imagine Working! was a partnership with Imagination Stage Inc., a youth theatre education organization based in Bethesda, MD.
The Maryland Customized Employment Partnership featured job search and supports for people with significant disabilities through the resources of the One-Stop Career Centers in Montgomery County, MD.
Montgomery County (MD) Transitioning Youth Employment was a long-running project with the goal improve the transition from school to work for youth with disabilities. It included various programs and partnerships between TransCen, Montgomery County Public Schools, area employment service providers, disability organizations, employers, and a host of other government and private sector agencies.
Charles County (MD) Public Schools Coordination Model was a technical assistance initiative where TransCen employees assisted school staff with curriculum and guidance on accessing services, community resources, employment, and other post-secondary opportunities through the implementation of an individual’s Student Transition Plan, with the goal of providing a seamless transition for exiting special education students.
The Baltimore Transition Connection (BTC) worked to enable youth with significant disabilities between the ages of 18-21 gain education and career experiences in community-based environments, including on the campuses of two and four year colleges. It was a partnership between the Baltimore City Public School System and TransCen.
The Maryland Transition Service Integration Project facilitated the blending of resources amongst school systems, vocational rehabilitation (VR), and developmental disabilities services. Students from four local Maryland school systems participated in this project, exiting school with employment and continuing supports in place.
Maryland WORKFORCE Promise was a statewide initiative, led by Way Station, Inc., established to promote the personal and professional independence of individuals with disabilities by affecting systems change to eliminate barriers to employment. TransCen provided technical assistance in employment development methodology.
Tennessee Customized Employment Partnership was a model for job search and supports for people with significant disabilities using the resources of the One-Stop Career Centers and other collaborating partners. This project was based in Knoxville, with replication occurring throughout the state.
Project CAREER was an employment program designed to assist job seekers with significant sensory impairments. TransCen, in cooperation with the Maryland Department of Education’s Division of Rehabilitation Services and Deaf Reach, Inc. provided customized job search, supports, and case management.
Delaware State Department of Education Project TransCen worked with the state for several years providing training and technical assistance to hundreds of teachers, administrators, and adult service providers as part of a statewide initiative which instituted sweeping improvements in secondary education and transition services for youth with disabilities in all school districts.
Region III CRP RCEP provided training and technical assistance to community rehabilitation programs throughout the Mid-Atlantic region. Partnering the University of Maryland, College Park, TransCen assisted with training on school-to-work transition, job placement, and business partnerships to community rehabilitation professionals.
Bridges…from School to Work was established by Marriott Foundation for People with Disabilities in 1989 in order to improve employment opportunities for youth with disabilities. Since then, TransCen has worked with the Foundation, assisting at various times in the program’s design, implementation, evaluation, and staff training. Bridges has assisted over thousands of youth with disabilities throughout the nation gain valuable work experience.
Post-Secondary Education Research Center (PERC) was a project where TransCen staff assisted school districts in Maryland and Connecticut in evaluating the efficacy and outcomes of serving students aged 18-21 with intellectual disabilities in two and four year college settings. PERC sites in each state served as model replication hubs and provided the basis for intensive study of the effectiveness of this educational service model.
The National Center on Secondary Education and Transition for Youth with Disabilities (NCSET) was established to create opportunities for youth with disabilities to achieve successful futures. It provided technical assistance and disseminated information focused on four major areas: (1) providing students with disabilities with improved access and success in the secondary education curriculum; (2) ensuring that students achieved positive post-school results in accessing post-secondary education, meaningful employment, independent living, and participation in all aspects of community life; (3) supporting student and family participation in educational and post-school decision-making and planning; (4) improving collaboration and system linkages at all levels through the development of broad-based partnerships and networks at the national, state, and local levels. TransCen was one of six partners in the Center, which was led by the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota.
The National Center on Workforce and Disability/Adults addressed emerging issues related to the inclusion of people with disabilities in comprehensive employment development systems. TransCen was one of several partner organizations, led by the Institute for Community Integration at the University of Massachusetts at Boston.
The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability/Youth provided technical assistance and information dissemination to build the capacity of workforce development systems to include youth with disabilities. Led by the Institute for Educational Leadership in Washington, DC, the Collaborative was comprised of seven national partners, including TransCen.
Project Career Advancement assisted individuals with significant disabilities (in Montgomery County, MD and San Francisco, CA) in achieving employment in two distinct industry sectors: high technology (including bio-technology) and finance. TransCen operated this project in collaboration with businesses, business organizations, One-Stop Career Centers, state VR agencies, and other community-based partners.
Project Earn (Employer Assistance Referral Network) was jointly managed by ACS, Inc. and TransCen to recruit and link employers and disability employment service providers through a national call center and through other outreach activities.
Bureau of Apprenticeship Training Marketing Outreach was an initiative designed to promote the inclusion of individuals with disabilities in apprenticeship programs in existing and emerging occupational areas. TransCen partnered with Research and Evaluation Associates of Raleigh, NC.
Career and Life Options was an initiative which replicated service models in three communities (Baltimore, MD; Harrisburg, PA; and San Francisco, CA) enabling youth with emotional disabilities to achieve their education and employment goals through a collaboration between schools and mental health services programs.
Montgomery Partnership for All Youth was a collaboration project with Montgomery Youth Works, a youth services organization in Montgomery County, MD, a project working to ensure that youth disabilities can fully participate in the Montgomery Youth Works programs.