May 2011

Southeast TACE Region IV

TACE Talks Transition 
Monthly Transition Information from the Southeast TACE


Upcoming TACE Topics 

Creating Workplace Partners through Work Experiences 

May 25, 2011

11:00 AM-1:00 PM ET

This webinar will address strategies for setting up and sustaining work experiences that will lead to competitive placements and employer partnerships.


Self-Employment as a Viable Option for Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities

June 9, 2011

2:00-3:00 PM EST

The webinar will highlight self-employment as a viable option for individuals with the most significant disabilities. 


Real Lives, Real Stories  

June 22, 2011

12:00-2:00 PM ET

The webinar will give VR personnel specific, real cases of 3-6 transition-age individuals with autism who have achieved competitive employment or are in the process of seeking and achieving competitive, customized employment.


An Overview of SSI and SSDI and Implications for Transition Planning

June 28, 2011

12:00-2:00 PM ET

Families and young people need to be aware of the value of Social Security programs to youth and adults with disabilities in funding adult services and medical insurance, and also of the possibility of work incentives to help fund employment. Families and youth also need accurate information about the impact of income on these benefits. This session will provide an overview of SSI and SSDI and explain the impact of income on both. 


Social Security Work Incentives and Transition

July 21, 2011

12:00-2:00 PM ET

This session builds on the previous session to explain and illustrate how Social Security Work Incentives can be used to support transition from school to work for youth with disabilities.


From The Field 

July 27, 2011

12:00-2:00 PM ET

VR Counselors will share information and specific details about the effective approaches and supports they utilize for clients with autism.


Community Employment for Everyone

August 24, 2011

12:00-2:00 PM ET

This family-targeted session will share stories about young adults with various disabilities working in their communities. Information will also be shared about the impact of a paycheck on SSI and SSDI, state and individual Medicaid thresholds for earnings and Social Security Work Incentives.


Community Partnerships, Organization, & Employers  

August 31, 2011

12:00-2:00 PM ET

A variety of community partners, organizations, and employers will share their experiences collaborating on the employment outcomes of individuals with autism and the possibilities for employment.


Transition Webinar Strand: Looking Forward - Innovations in Transition

Target Audience: Leadership & Counselors 

Started in February 2011

Post Secondary Education for Students with Intellectual Disabilities; Get a Job or Building Assets?; And more! 


Autism & Employment Learning Community Series

Target Audience: Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Area Directors

Starting in May 2011

Information, tools, and tips to communicate, interact, and support individuals with autism to reach integrated, competitive employment goals. 


Archives Available!

TACE webinar recordings, handouts and PowerPoint slideshows are archived and available for you to access at your convenience.



Role of Work Experiences in Guiding Careers



Introduction to Assistive Technology



Understanding the Types of Work Experiences



Selecting the "Right" Work Experiences with Youth



Using Discovery vs. Evaluation to Learn from Work Experiences



How Can You Establish a Climate that is Excited about Serving Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities



Recruitment & Retention of Individuals with Disabilities and Multicultural Backgrounds into the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Profession



Postsecondary Education Options for Students with Intellectual Disabilities 



Getting the Most out of Summer Transition Activities



Flexible Workplaces Benefit Everyone, Especially Persons with Disabilities



Impact of How VRCs View Individuals with the Most Significant Disabilities on their Caseload



Approaches to Understanding What an Individual Has to Offer an Employer



Steps of Customized Job Development Whether Developing Job Yourself or Contracting with a CRP



Recruitment & Retention of Individuals with Disabilities and Multicultural Backgrounds into the VR Profession Part 2

Upcoming Training Events

May 16-June 20, 2011

Cost: $75 per individual

This new online course will cover the basics and frequently asked questions that individuals with disabilities may have when thinking about starting a business. Content is appropriate for individuals with disabilities as well as those who support them, including VR Counselors.

May 19, 2011

1:00-3:00 PM ET
This webinar will explain the basics of the social insurance safety net that is created by the Social Security retirement, disability, and survivors programs.

May 23-June 20, 2011

Cost: $80 per individual

This course will take a closer look at customized employment and how it can facilitate employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. Earn 1.6 CEUs, 16 CRCs and a Certificate of Course Completion from VCU. 

May 24, 2011

1:00-2:00 PM ET
Family members, youth, service providers, and researchers will offer perspectives on how to involve families in services in ways that are preferred by youth and young adults.


Webinar on Transition Assessments for Students with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

May 24, 2011

3:00-4:30 ET

This 90-minute webinar presents a three-part transition assessment process for students with severe and multiple disabilities to facilitate development of postsecondary and annual transition goals.


Ticket to Work for Beneficiaries with a Mental Illness - Support on Your Journey to Employment

May 25, 2011

3:00-4:30 PM ET

For National Mental Health Awareness Month, SSA is proud to present a 90-minute national Work Incentives Seminar Event webinar tailored to SSI and SSDI beneficiaries who have a mental illness. 


June 9-11, 2011

Atlanta, GA

Conference presenters and panelists include experts in the field of communication intervention research and related fields with diverse perspectives and methodologies.

June 14, 2011

3:30-5:00 PM ET

Cost: $50 for an individual; $150 for an agency

This webcast will provide a comprehensive description of evidence-based practices for individuals with ASD.  

June 14-16, 2011

Seattle, WA


June 16, 2011

1:30-3:00 PM EST

Cost: None

42nd Autism Society National Conference and Exposition

July 6-9, 2011
Orlando, Florida

This conference addresses the range of issues affecting people with autism including early intervention, education, employment, behavior, communication, social skills, biomedical interventions and others, across the entire lifespan. 


Be sure to check the TACE Events page 

for the most up-to-date training announcements.

Other Training Opportunities

The Autism Internet Modules were developed to make comprehensive, up-to-date, and usable information on autism accessible and applicable to educators, other professionals, and families who support individuals with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). Written by experts from across the U.S., all online modules are free.


The National Elder Rights Training Project offers a number of webinars in 2011. All sessions are archived and may be downloaded from the site. Examples of past and upcoming webinar topics include: The Next Frontier in Public Benefits: Prepaid Cards; Due Process Protections in Supplemental Security Income ("SSI") Non-Disability Appeals; New Rules on Protection and Electronic Payment of Social Security; and A Toolkit for Serving Diverse Communities.



Welcome to the monthly electronic Southeast TACE Talks Transition. Here you will find the latest information about transition, employment for people with disabilities, and relevant legislation. We'll also tell you about upcoming training sessions and introduce you to exciting new web sites.


To make the TACE Talks Transition as useful as possible, we encourage you to let us know about your innovative local practices, transition tips for VR Counselors, and Customized Employment success stories. Send an email to Kim Brown at and she'll schedule a telephone interview with you to learn more about what you are doing. The information will be written up and shared in a future TACE Talks Transition and on the TACE Transition Services web site.


Please forward this TACE Talks Transition to agency staff, teachers, parents, individuals with disabilities, and anyone else you think might find the information useful. Invite them to subscribe by joining the Southeast TACE Transition Listserv. To join the listserv, they simply visit the the Southeast TACE Transition Services web site  and follow the Transition E-Mail-List link. We'll take it from there!    

And remember to visit the TACE Transition web site regularly to learn about current events in the world of transition.

Are you accessing the Portals?

The Portals for the TACE Transition Services are an exciting resource - are you using them? If not, visit the TACE Transition Services web site.  In the "Login For" section on the left-hand side of your screen, select "Counselor" or "Coordinator." This will take you to the "Login to MyTACE Account" page. You will use your MyTACE Account to register for available events, seek applicable credit, and access your specialized portal - Transition Services Counselor or Coordinator. 


Attended a TACE Webinar? You may already have created a MyTACE Account. If you have a MyTACE Account, email and request to join the TACE Transition Network. If you don't already have a MyTACE account, follow the instructions to "Create a New MyTACE Account" and also apply for Portal access.

Counselor Tips: 
The Social Security Administration's Youth Transition Demonstration Projects: Interim Report on Transition WORKS [PDF] presents the findings from reviews of the Transition WORKS project in Erie County, New York. The project focused on self-determination, benefits planning, employment, education, and case management for transition-aged youth.


One area of concentration was on employment-related services that were based on the belief that all youth who want to work can do so. "Youth who had little or no job experience received vocational assessments. Early in the project, the job developers used traditional vocational assessments, such as written tests and referrals to a local vocational assessment center. As the project matured, based on advice from TransCen staff, the job developers used job tryouts at local firms to obtain more realistic assessments of the youths' capabilities and interests" (p.38).


Employment services included job search services, career club, assistance in preparing resumes, interview training and career exploration through work experiences, job shadowing, internships, informational interviews, and job tours.  About nine percent received employment skills training, such as soft-skills training and occupationally specific skills training. "When a participant was ready for paid employment, a job developer identified one or more positions that matched the youth's interests and skills. The job developer provided the youth with information about these jobs, as well as assistance with applying for the positions. The job developers provided follow-up services to support some youth in maintaining their jobs or assisted the participants in identifying new employment opportunities when placements proved unsatisfactory" (p.38).


Obstacles that staff reported to helping youth find paid employment included: fear that youth and their families had of losing SSI benefits, even though benefit planning services were offered through the demonstration project; uncertainty about employer expectations because some families had few or no employed members; and intense competition for low-wage jobs due to the economic recession, meaning that many participants had to complete multiple applications before finding jobs.


The report authors make several recommendations, including:

1. Provide the full range of project services in a single location, using partners and staff that specialize in particular service components. The Transition WORKS model was implemented in a way that required youth to travel to multiple locations for services, which probably created barriers to participation for some youth. Providing services in one location by staff from both the lead agency and its partners would take advantage of agency and staff areas of expertise while reducing the need for many participants to travel extensively.


2. Ensure that youth become engaged in project services immediately after enrollment. Projects should assign a high priority to engaging enrolled youth in services rapidly. This may require creativity, perhaps by designing interventions that combine learning and recreation or that permit youth to bring friends or family members to service sessions.


3. Future projects should provide enough staff to ensure that caseload sizes are reasonable. Each transition coordinator at Erie 1 BOCES was responsible for providing case management and other services to 200 youth, and the job developers typically had active caseloads of between 30 and 50 youth. These caseloads were too high to allow the project staff to provide the intensity and depth of services needed to assist youth in finding employment and provide other services (pp. 59-60).


(Fraker, T., Black, A., Mamun, A., Manno, M., Martinez, J., O'Day, B., O'Toole, M., Rangarajan, A., Reed, D., 2011,

Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.) 

TEAM Legislation Update:

TEAM Legislation Summary:




Representative Gregg Harper (R-MS) has introduced three bills collectively known as Transition toward Excellence, Achievement and Mobility, or the TEAM legislation. It is intended to:


        streamline federal programs and services that support youth with significant disabilities from youth to adulthood, and

        rebalance funding to focus on improved outcomes in post-secondary education and integrated employment


These three bills (known separately as the TEAM-Education Act, the TEAM-Empowerment Act, and the TEAM-Employment Act) all collectively seek to promote meaningful post-secondary educational and employment opportunities, with an emphasis on the eventual outcome leading to sustained, full-time employment in an integrated setting at a livable wage, long-term career development and growth, and inclusion in the community setting through independent living and social engagement. 


The TEAM-Education Act would ensure that schools are provided additional resources to hire transition coordinators to proactively support our kids during their transition years in the public school system.  The TEAM-Empowerment Act also creates an adult transition planning process and system of transition supports for youth and their families under the auspices of the state intellectual and developmental disability agencies to ensure that our youth can choose a broker to work with them as they seek to use their public supports to secure a desired post-secondary educational opportunity or employment at a livable wage in an integrated setting.  The TEAM-Employment Act seeks to stimulate a national system-change initiative, which will ensure that agencies coordinate services better to produce the desired outcomes of integrated living and employment.  This includes incentivizing and rewarding those states who reshape the focus of their current funding streams to promote those services that lead to getting our youngsters fully participating in the community through the general workforce and economic mainstream.


Representative Harper stated, "My intent in introducing the TEAM legislation is to ensure that steps are taken to realign the current federal infrastructure so as to promote an efficient blending of resources and coordination of services among federal agencies, ensure coherent planning centered on the individual, and target publicly-financed investments toward self-directed meaningful outcomes that optimize self-sufficiency and allow individuals with significant disabilities to become contributing members of their communities.  Publicly-financed services and support should be directly linked toward helping youth secure real jobs at real wages in integrated communities, pursue and complete post-secondary education, meaningfully engage in the economic mainstream, secure independent living and participate fully as citizens of our society".


Representative Harper, a second-term Congressman from Mississippi, has a son with Fragile X, the most common inherited cause of mental retardation and the only known genetic cause of autism.  Harper has been an ardent advocate for the intellectual disability community and for promoting public policies that ensure the effective and efficient use of federal resources to support optimal self-sufficiency and economic advancement of citizens with significant disabilities. Approximately twelve national organizations are already on record endorsing the package of reform legislation.


For more information:

TEAM Education Act Overview [PDF] 

TEAM Education Act Bill [PDF]

TEAM Employment Act Overview [PDF]

TEAM Employment Act Bill [PDF]

TEAM Empowerment Act Overview [PDF]

TEAM Empowerment Act Bill [PDF]

Transition Innovation:

NCWD/Youth's latest Info Brief, Tapping into the Power of Families: How Families of Youth with Disabilities Can Assist in Job Search and Retention, gives families information on how their involvement can make a positive impact on a youth's work readiness, career exploration, and workplace success, and encourages service professionals to consider how to involve family members in a young person's work readiness and career development.


The Humboldt County Office of Education/Regional Occupation Program has produced an interactive web-based resource for students transitioning through high school to adult life. The Personal Data Wizard is an individual career portfolio and transition planning program. A student can logon to a secure personal site for the following activities and resources:  

        Interest Assessment and Career Research

        Templates for: Applications, Resumes, Cover Letters, etc.

        Self-scoring practice tests for: ASVAB, Employment, etc.

        Personal Budget Builder

        Document saving capabilities

        Many other useful resources to address IEP/ITP goals, objectives and activities.


The cost is an annual service fee of $100.00 and $1.00 per student password per school year (July 1 thru June 30). For more information, contact Scott Keele, PDW manager, Humboldt County Office of Education, 901 Myrtle Ave., Eureka, CA 95501; 707-442-1825 wk/hm; 707-445-7115 wk/cell.

A newly released report, 2010 FAST Family Support Survey: National Results [PDF]summarizes the results of a 2010 national Internet survey of parents or relatives of children and youth with disabilities, age 11 to 39. Areas addressed include transition supports and how families learned about those supports. The report was prepared by the Institute on Community Integration for PACER Center's FAST (Family Advocacy and Support Training) Project, an Administration on Developmental Disabilities (ADD) Project of National Significance.

Facts Are Stubborn Things [YouTube Video] covers "Employment & Disability for a New Century" and "Litigation, Accommodation, and Innovation."  


The recently published Guide to Person-centered Excellence [PDF] from the Council on Quality and Leadership includes 8 key factors (Person-centered Assessment and Discovery; Person-centered Planning; Supports and Services; Community Connection; Workforce; Governance; Quality and Accountability; and Emerging Practices in Individual Budgets) and 34 success indicators to be used as part of an organization's internal quality improvement system.
Customized Employment Example:

Written by Ellen Condon, Rural Institute, and Sandi Hart, Mountain Skye Employment and Community Support Services


Casey graduated from high school in June 2009. His future was somewhat unclear at first. His family had connected him to the local Developmental Disabilities program and he had been determined eligible. However, his family hadn't been sure which services they wanted so he wasn't on any waiting lists yet. The wait was going to be three-five years anyway. (Adult services differ from school services in that while a person may be eligible for the adult services they are not "entitled" to these services. Many young adults have to wait until agency supports become available.)


In the summer before his exit year of high school Casey had applied for services from VR. VR had contracted with a local employment vendor to perform an evaluation. They wanted to know if Casey was able to work without ongoing support. Could he learn a job with minimal support from a job coach and then work on his own? The evaluator recommended that Casey would need ongoing support in order to work.


The problem was that when Casey graduated there were not yet any formal ongoing supports in place for him. He was waiting for services from Developmental Disabilities. VR couldn't help Casey find and learn a new job until there was separate funding to help him keep his job. Casey's name was placed on the Extended Employment wait list, a service through VR that could provide ongoing on-the-job supports to Casey.


It looked like that would be Casey's transition outcome - graduate from high school and hang out at home and wait. However, Casey was eligible for a PASS plan, a Plan for Achieving Self-Support, which is a work incentive offered through Social Security to encourage SSI recipients to go to work. Casey was receiving Social Security through his dad who was drawing retirement benefits. This money reduced Casey's monthly SSI check which is what made him eligible for the PASS plan. We were able to access VR services by showing that Casey could use his PASS plan to fund his "ongoing support" for at least 18 months. VR agreed to open Casey's case and paid for his initial job coaching.


Casey's job coach met with Casey, his parents, family members, teachers, and VR to gather information and start the Discovery process. This process allowed Casey's job coach to gather information about what hours of the day Casey was at his best; how he interacted with others; his goals, strengths, and interests; and what types of jobs would work best for Casey. A Portfolio was then completed for Casey that outlined his strengths and interests through photos and narrative information. The Portfolio was used when discussing Casey with employers. Once all the information was collected and meetings were held to determine what businesses would be approached, Casey's job coach met with employers to present what he would bring to their place of employment once hired. Several businesses were contacted before a match between Casey's needs and the employer's needs was established.


Famous Dave's, a BBQ restaurant, hired Casey to clean the rungs of chairs, booths, windowsills, high chairs, and menus; dust; fill BBQ sauces; organize tables; and wipe down patio tables and chairs during the summer months. This particular position was created for Casey. Having these duties completed was beneficial for the employer and the tasks were selected and structured for Casey to be most productive and independent. Casey was given a photo task list that organized the tasks he needed to complete. This helped him remember where to start each day and all the steps of his job. He was shown how to clean each rung of the chair and the order of doing so by his job coach. Once he learned the tasks Casey was able to do them independently with his job coach present.

Casey had several setbacks at work. He had two operations and was off work for an extended period of time. Upon returning, he had to re-learn each task with the help of his job coach...he worked hard and re-learned them. His favorite task continues to be stocking the tables with BBQ sauce and organizing tables. His biggest challenge was knowing it was time to clean up and stop working. He doesn't tell time so his job coach worked with him to know the time he would need to clean up by looking at the clock at work. They also tried a watch with a vibrating alarm and a beeping alarm. What finally worked best was having him carry a cell phone with an alarm that goes off when he is to clean up, clock out, and go home. Casey is always ready to leave work at the end of his shift because he doesn't want to miss lunch. His dad provides transportation and drives him to and from work. (The PASS plan also pays his dad's mileage to transport him.)


Casey's job coach was able to fade for short periods of time at first and then totally after Casey learned each task. He now goes to work on his own at Famous Dave's. During his training, Extended Employment funding became available which will provide Casey the ongoing job coaching support he needs to keep his job. They are able to check in on Casey a few times a month to see how he is doing. Casey's co-workers and managers are very supportive of him and enjoy his great sense of humor and hard work. On his birthday his co-workers made him a cake to celebrate and they also celebrated his return to work with a card and cake.  


The Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) now publishes monthly updates to the national employment rate of youth with disabilities. The data is disaggregated by ages 16 to 19 and 20 to 24.


How to: Build Partnerships for Career Exploration - Using Job Shadows to Explore the World of Work [PDF] from the Monadnock Center for Successful Transitions at Keene State College is part of a series to increase work-based learning opportunities for students with disabilities. This guide is written for high schools to work with organizations to plan and carry out a Job Shadow Day.


The April newsletter discusses tax incentives for private employers who hire and employ people with disabilities.


The National Technical Assistance and Research Leadership Center at Rutgers University recently published the results of their research into the hiring, training and retention of people with disabilities in the workplace. Ready and Able: Addressing Labor Market Needs and Building Productive Careers for People with Disabilities Through Collaborative Approaches [PDF] discusses key findings, such as: "Employers respond to a business case for employing people with disabilities; innovative collaborations with and between workforce-supplying organizations enable employer efforts to recruit, hire, train, and support employees with disabilities; collaborations ensure that workers are qualified and productive; and successful collaborations nurture and reward continuous leadership."

National News: 

The official theme of the October 2011 National Disability Employment Awareness Month will be Profit by Investing in Workers with Disabilities. This theme promotes the contributions of workers with disabilities and serves to inform the public that these workers represent a highly skilled talent pool that can help employers compete in a global economy.


The video of the October 26, 2010 U.S. Department of Labor's Forum on Youth with Disabilities has been posted to the Employment and Training Administration's Workforce3One Disability and Employment Community of Practice Web site.

Post-Secondary Education: 
The April Think College Newsletter includes information about upcoming events and notable resources on post-secondary education.


The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG) has a four-year post-secondary education program for adults with intellectual disabilities called Beyond Academics. The course of study prepares students for a self-determined lifestyle emphasizing careers, meaningful avocations, and community living. Through the Office of Undergraduate Studies at UNCG, students completing requirements for graduation receive a certificate in Integrative Community Studies.


The National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability (NCWD/Youth) recently profiled the statewide Florida High School/High Tech (HS/HT) initiative, operated by the Able Trust (a 501(c)(3) nonprofit public/private partnership established by the Florida Legislature in 1990). The program is designed to help youth with disabilities successfully transition from secondary school to postsecondary opportunities.

Social Security: 
Social Security Online recently posted an SSI Spotlight on Continued Medicaid Eligibility for People Who Work. The posting explains that people receiving Supplemental Security Income may be reluctant to go to work for fear they will lose their Medicaid coverage. However, in most instances, if the individual is blind or disabled (regardless of age) and had Medicaid before going to work, the Medicaid will continue while they are working as long as they still have a disabling condition. 

Featured Web Sites:

Including Samuel - The Power of Youth [Video] goes behind the scenes of the 2010 Youth Inclusion Summit, inspired and co-organized by the Including Samuel Project.  Twenty teens from around the country participated in the summit and created "I am Norm," a national youth-led campaign promoting the acceptance, respect and full inclusion of youth with disabilities in schools and communities.


A December 2010 post to Rural shares Promising Practices from the Joblinks Employment Transportation Program. Visit the site for a sampling of strategies workforce development professionals are using to make affordable, reliable and accessible transportation available to those they serve.


The National Secondary Transition Technical Assistance Center (NSTTAC) recently updated their collection of Evidence-Based Practice transition resources.


We Connect Now strives to unite people interested in rights and issues affecting people with disabilities, with particular emphasis on college students and access to higher education and employment issues. The site is designed, in part, to help college students with disabilities to succeed in their studies by getting the information and support they need through resources, links, blogs, news updates, and personal contacts.


The Mathematica Policy Research Center for Studying Disability Policy provides a weekly summary of selected disability news from around the world on their web site.

Do you have specific topics you would like to see addressed in a future
TACE Talks Transition?  Are you doing something innovative in your state that you would like to share with others in the region? Do you have examples of successful youth work experiences that might inspire your colleagues? Let us know - we want to hear from you! Contact Kim Brown at

If you have any questions about TACE or would like to request technical assistance, please contact Civa Shumpert at

For questions about the Southeast TACE Transition Listserv or the monthly Southeast TACE Talks Transition, please contact Kim Brown at

The Southeast TACE Transition Team
Meet the Southeast TACE Transition Team
(click on the person's name to learn more about him or her):
Chip Kenney, Project Director & Principal Investigator
Jill Houghton, Deputy Director
Steffany Stevens, Training Coordinator & Administrative Specialist
Norciva (Civa) Shumpert, TACE Transition Consultant
About the Southeast TACE Talks Transition:
This free service is being sponsored by Southeast TACE, the Technical Assistance & Continuing Education (TACE) Center for Region IV. TACE is a partnership of academic, governmental, and community expertise that provides technical assistance and continuing education activities to meet the training and organizational development needs of State Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and their partners in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Tennessee. Southeast TACE supports VR, Community Rehabilitation Programs, Centers for Independent Living, Client Assistance Programs, and other agencies to enhance employment outcomes, independent functioning, independent living and quality of life for persons with disabilities throughout the eight states in the Southeast Region IV.
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