August 2011

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TACE Talks Transition 
Monthly Transition Information from the Southeast TACE

Upcoming TACE Topics 

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. 


Real Lives, Real Stories 

September 7, 2011 

12:00-1:00 PM ET

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 it. 


Providing Employment Services to Individuals with Disabilities who have Criminal Backgrounds

September 14, 2011

2:00-4:00 PM ET 

An overview of different successful approaches to ensuring individuals with disabilities who have criminal backgrounds obtain successful employment. 


Overview of the Legal Consideration Providers and VRCs should know when Working with Offenders

October 10, 2011

2:00-4:00 PM ET

This webinar will answer questions such as: What are the rules regarding what employers are entitled to know and do with criminal history information? Can a person be denied a job based on a criminal record?


From The Field

October 12, 2011

12:00-1:00 PM ET

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


Using Customized Employment for Individuals with Disabilities who have Criminal Backgrounds 

November 15, 2011

2:00-4:00 PM ET

Learn why customized employment is an effective approach with this population.


Community Partnerships, Organization, & Employers

November 16, 2011

12:00-1:00 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.


Forensic Employment Programs for Offenders with Mental Health Disabilities

December 14, 2011

2:00-4:00 PM ET

This webinar will examine the challenges this population faces in obtaining and maintaining employment and how the Forensic Employment Specialist can assist individuals in being successful.


Autism & Employment Learning Community Series

Target Audience: Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Area Directors

Started in May 2011 Information, tools, and tips to communicate, interact, and support individuals with autism to reach integrated, competitive employment goals.


Job Development Exchange

Target Audience: Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors and Community Rehabilitation Providers

Started in July 2011

The Exchange will focus on what a counselor needs to know, whether they are buying job development services or doing it themselves. The Exchange launched with an Online Toolkit for Job Placement and Employment Professionals and a series of webinars, to be followed by an evolving menu of timely resources, tools and interactive learning opportunities.


TACE Training Archives

TACE webinars 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 



Part One: 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



Creating Workplace Partners through Work Experiences



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



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



The World of iPads, iPods Touches, and Apps



An Overview of SSI and SSDI and Implications for Transition Planning



Autism 101



An Overview of Employment Approaches and Strategies to Serve all Persons



Social Security Work Incentives and Transition



Autism 101 - Communication and Supports



Introducing the Online Toolkit for Job Placement and Employment Professionals



Distinguishing Employment Relationships: Competitive and Customized Employment


Upcoming Training Events

Ticket to Work: Free Support Services for Young Adults in Transition

August 24, 2011

3:00 PM ET

This national WISE webinar will present information about Social Security Ticket to Work and Work Incentives.


Disability and Stigma: Are you Creating it or Dispelling it?

September 8, 2011

1:00-2:00 PM ET

Cost: $50 APSE Members/ $100 Non-Members

Learn how to recognize stigma in marketing; strike a balance between the message of social justice and community inclusion; and formulate respectful images of job seekers without pity or myth.


On-line Employment Applications and Website Accessibility Webinar

September 15, 2011

1:30-3:00 PM ET

Cost: None

Learn how to make your online applications fully accessible to a valuable talent pool.


Second International Research Conference on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities

September 18-21, 2011
Philadelphia, PA
For persons in recovery, researchers, administrators, policymakers, funders, providers, family members, students, advocates and others who are interested in cutting edge research and innovative practices that promote community integration and broaden community participation.


Discovery & Job Development for Individuals with Autism

October 4-5, 2011

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Tuition: $245

Reveals best practice in Customized Employment meeting the unique and often complex circumstances of individuals with significant disabilities. RSVP to; for questions about training content, contact Cary at


Partnering to Increase Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities  

October 6, 2011

2:00-3:00 PM ET

Cost: $50 APSE Members/$100 Non-members

An overview of the array of national, regional and state initiatives underway to increase employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities. 


2011 State of the Art Conference on Postsecondary Education and Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities

November 3-4, 2011
Fairfax, Virginia

An opportunity for colleges and universities, researchers, program staff, parents and self-advocates to discuss the current state of research and practice in the field. 


Alliance for Full Participation: Real Jobs--It's Everyone's Business

November 17-19, 2011

National Harbor, Maryland

Be a part of a national conference that seeks to find solutions to the challenges facing increasing integrated employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.


"No Excuses" - TASH National Conference

November 30-December 3, 2011

Atlanta, Georgia


2012 Disability Policy Seminar

April 23-25, 2012

Washington, DC

Save the date! 


Be sure to check the TACE Events page 

for the most up-to-date training announcements.



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.

We want to hear from YOU! 
To ensure that we're providing you with the transition-related information you want and need, we ask that you complete our brief online survey. Please take the time to let us know how we are doing. Thank you in advance for your participation!  



Counselor Tips:  

This month's tips come to us from Josť Rivera, MSW, VR Consultant with Orange County. Josť was part of the Florida Community of Excellence Project, which involved a collaboration between the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Orange County, and Seminole County School Districts, supported by TACE. The partners were interested in building capacity for delivery of Discovery and Customized Employment. 


Based on his experience implementing Customized Employment, Josť offers a number of tips for VR Counselors:

        Promote collaboration and team work...they are important and rewarding.

        Stay open-minded. This is not the traditional way VR has operated, at least in Florida. Initially you may feel some apprehension or even fear...change is challenging.

        Look at the consumer from an assets-focused, positive perspective. Look at what they can do instead of what they cannot do.

        Recognize that it takes some time.

        Stay true to the process. Try not to tweak it too much. It works itself. It's a long journey but the journey is worth it.

        Use the process with clients who have the most significant impact of disability, clients who perhaps would not benefit from the usual VR services but instead needed something more creative.


Read more about the Florida Community of Excellence Project [PDF]!


TEAM Legislation Update:

The TEAM Employment Act [PDF] was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Higher Education and Workforce Training on March 4, 2011.


The TEAM Empowerment Act [PDF] was referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health on February 18, 2011.

The TEAM Education Act [PDF] was referred to the House Committee on Education and the Workforce Subcommittee on Early Childhood, Elementary, and Secondary Education on March 4, 2011. 

Transition Innovation:

The Florida Community of Excellence Project [PDF] involved two primary components - initial trainings on Discovery with the process of customizing employment and then deepening that learning by implementing the process with students while they were still in high school. Student outcomes were considered a shared responsibility between the schools and VR. According to Josť Rivera, MSW, VR Consultant with Orange County, "It was a wonderful experience to get to really know the clients, to understand them and their behaviors better. I probably knew the three clients I worked with through this project better than any clients I've ever had. Discovery gave me really good information to work with." The fact that most of the students exited with jobs was powerful proof that the process can work.  


The National Service Inclusion Project at the Institute for Community Inclusion, UMASS Boston, has added a new resource section designed to help educators plan, implement and evaluate service-learning projects.


This month the Council on Quality and Leadership explores Supports and Services as one of the key factors of person-centered excellence.


The Youth Connections Community of Practice will allow practitioners in the youth employment field to discuss and share promising practices and technical assistance, and to network. Youth Connections is hosted by the Division of Youth Services in the U.S. Department of Labor's Employment and Training Administration.


The Autism Speaks Transition Tool Kit was created to serve as a guide to assist families on the journey from adolescence to adulthood. It may be downloaded for free.


In Intersection: Navigating the Road to Work, Volume 8, Number 7, NCWD/Youth profiles First Jobs Academy (FJA), a program of the Annie E. Casey Foundation  a youth staffing initiative that provides initial and transitional employment opportunities for in-school and out-of-school youth with and without disabilities who are in the foster care system, and Minnesota's Pathways to Employment (PTE), an initiative of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED). PTE brings together employers, businesses, government, and service providers to help increase competitive employment opportunities for people with disabilities and to meet state workforce needs.


The Youth Transition Toolkit: A Guide for Young People with Disabilities Transitioning to Adulthood is now available online from Talent Knows No Limits (TKNL), a public information campaign of the California Health Incentives Improvement Project (CHIIP).


Young adult members of the Montana Transition Training, Information and Resource Center Advisory Board decided to form the Mental Health Work Group to address the mental health needs of youth with developmental disabilities. The work group recently finalized their handout Developmental Disabilities and Mental Health - What Young Adults Want You to Know [PDF]They invite readers to download and share the document widely, especially with educators, medical professionals, mental health and developmental disability service providers, families, and young adults with developmental disabilities.


You are invited to complete the Autism NOW National Resource and Information Center Core Values Survey. The purpose of this survey is to find out what people think about values and ethics as they relate to autism, developmental and intellectual disabilities. The survey is part of a process to create a Core Values Statement for the Autism NOW Center.


Creating a Pathway to a Better Financial Future: Developing State Strategies for Asset Development and Wealth Creation for People with Disabilities [PDF] by Candace Baldwin and Megan O'Neil examines successful asset-building strategies that states can use to increase the employment and financial independence of persons with disabilities.


National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) is a campaign that raises awareness about disability employment issues and celebrates the many and varied contributions of America's workers with disabilities. NDEAM posters can be ordered in English and Spanish, and downloadable versions are available in English, Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, French, Navajo, Lakota and Cherokee.
Customized Employment Examples:  

This month's examples come to us from the Florida Community of Excellence Project [PDF]. Many thanks to Josť Rivera, MSW, VR Consultant with Orange County, for sharing these stories with the TACE Transition community. 


Michael is a young man diagnosed with Mild Mental Retardation and Severe Autism. He is smart but finds it challenging to express himself and rarely speaks. He is very neat and tidy. Michael loves to ride his bike and rides it everywhere. During Discovery, team members learned that he loves a particular gym/fitness center where he is a member and he goes there almost every day. At the gym, he works out and volunteers to help other clients with their workouts and the machines. Team members were concerned about how Michael would be in the workplace - how would he relate to an employer without talking? This question was answered when the team conducted Discovery observations and interviews at the gym. They learned that in that environment he is considered "Mr. Personality." Even though everywhere else, he stays in his own world and will not look at, acknowledge or speak to others, at the gym people said he didn't stop talking! It was obvious he loves the environment and is very comfortable with the clients and the staff. The gym employees reported that Michael even emceed at one of their fundraiser events. VR would never have known this using their traditional procedures, which limit counselors to exploring only "work-related" information.


After the team completed Discovery, they documented what they had learned in a Vocational Profile and scheduled an Employment Planning Meeting. The gym was targeted as the top priority for the employment vendor to approach because it met Michael's conditions of employment, he had skills and contributions that were valued there, and he already had connections with both the employer and the other customers. The Human Resources officer at the gym told the employment vendor they were not able to customize a position without permission from their "higher ups." Michael's mother is a strong advocate and was actively involved in the project, so she wrote a letter to the gym's CEO. VR and the employment vendor wrote letters to the president and vice president of the company. The HR office was given permission to customize employment for Michael and he was hired at a competitive wage with comparable benefits to what the other employees receive. Michael's position was negotiated to include tasks that complimented his strengths, such as cleaning and sanitizing the equipment and other common areas. He was allowed to work at his own pace and was not expected to take on more than he could handle. Michael had to learn how to transfer from one task to another; this took a considerable amount of time and patience among staff to keep him focused on the task at hand. Michael continued working at his favorite gym until he and his parents moved to Rhode Island.

Emily has labels of Downs Syndrome and Mild Mental Retardation. She is very quiet, but at the same time knows what she wants and is vocal about asking for it. She is described as a "definite personality." According to her teachers, she wants to work and is a hard worker. Emily enjoys the arts. Her father volunteers and acts in community playhouses, and Emily has also been in a play. As they worked through the Customized Employment process, it was clear the team was headed in the direction of the arts. They continued Discovery, however, and looked at Emily's work habits and performance at her school training sites. One of these sites was a department store, and team members learned Emily performed her tasks there, which included folding clothing, neatly and well. When the team observed Emily at home in a more natural and comfortable environment, they were treated to her guiding them on a tour of the house and her bedroom. Her room was immaculate, with her clothing folded, pressed, and color-coded in her drawers.


After Discovery was completed and the Vocational Profile written, the team held Emily's Employment Planning Meeting. Community arts and the department store quickly arose as possible employers to approach. However, based on what the team had learned during Discovery, the group realized there were practical limitations to the arts. Emily's dad reminded everyone that she goes to bed every night like clockwork by 7PM...this, according to Emily, was non-negotiable. Also, Emily has lots of weekend obligations including dance and Special Olympics. Plays typically start in the evening and can last quite late, and they often run on weekends. Several of Emily's important conditions for employment would not be met by a job involving the community playhouses.


The department store, on the other hand, would offer more flexible scheduling. Emily's schedule could be negotiated so that she would work during the day, when she is at her best. The VR Counselor, Emily's teacher, and the employment specialist met with the manager at department store to discuss Customized Employment and employer needs that Emily might be able to meet. The manager loved the idea of customization and remembered Emily from her school placement a few semesters earlier. The team negotiated a position for Emily that included sorting clothes according to gender and style. She was not required to lift boxes or help unload merchandise as it was delivered, whereas other employees in similar positions would be required to do so. Emily's work pace was also negotiated ahead of time - she works more slowly than other employees but keeps a steady pace. She also needs extended or additional breaks at times. It was important that both management and other employees understood this in advance. Emily had to move with her parents to the East Coast, but transferred to a branch of the same department store in her new community and is still employed there. Emily's parents were actively involved throughout the process, and continue to provide essential supports such as transportation.

Both Emily and Michael enjoyed the benefits of having employers that understood their individual strengths, saw how those strengths could contribute to their businesses, and were willing to work with them for long-term employment.



Check out the latest issue of The Riot! - Real Jobs for Real Pay [PDF]This is part one of a two-part series on employment for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

State Intellectual and Developmental Disability Agencies' Funding for Employment Services issued DataNote 33. The report states that the data reviewed "do suggest that integrated employment services are more cost-effective compared to facility-based work. In addition, if more individuals are to be supported in jobs in the community, a greater percentage of overall funding needs to be allocated towards integrated employment services and away from facility-based work and other non-work services." (Winsor, J. E., & Smith, F. A., 2011, State Intellectual Disability and Developmental Disabilities Agencies Funding for Employment Services. DataNote Series, Data XXXIII. Boston, MA: University of Massachusetts Boston, Institute for Community Inclusion.)


The Employment and Training Administration (ETA) recently released  Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) 31-10 to provide information and resources on promising practices and successful strategies that promote the enrollment, education, training and employment outcomes of youth with disabilities. 

National News: 

On July 14th, the Senate HELP Committee held a hearing on Lessons from the Field: Learning from What Works for Employment for Persons with Disabilities. The committee sought to learn about proven strategies that have a positive impact on employment outcomes for all people with disabilities, including young adults and veterans.   

Post-Secondary Education: 
DREAM - Disability Rights, Education, Activism, and Mentoring

strives to promote a national disabilities agenda for post-secondary students and their allies and to serve as an educational resource and source of support for both individuals and local campus-based groups. 

The federal government provides financial assistance for students attending colleges, career schools and universities. Enter the word "disability" in the search to find scholarships that are specifically for students with disabilities.


The College Preparation Checklist is for students of all ages who haven't attended college or trade school, and parents of students in elementary and secondary school. It includes a "to do" list, starting with elementary school, to help students prepare academically and financially for education beyond high school.


The AHEAD White Paper on Students with Intellectual Disabilities and Campus Disability Services discusses developing inclusive programs in higher education for students with developmental and intellectual disabilities and the impacts on traditional DRS services.


A Practical Guide for Students with Disabilities Who Want to Go to College [PDF] includes information about finding the right school, paying for college, and locating disability-related supports.

Featured Web Sites:

Visit the National Health Care Transition Center's web site to learn more about health care transition.

On the anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), Office of Disability Employment Policy Assistant Secretary Kathy Martinez announced the new and improved version of the ODEP web site. The site includes a resource-rich Youth in Transition section. was recently updated with several new resources, tips and tools for people interested in becoming self-employed or starting a home based business. You'll also find information about writing a business plan and financing to get a small business off the ground.

Have you accessed your Portal today?

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.

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.
To unsubscribe to the Southeast TACE Transition Listserv, use the SafeUnsubscribe link at the bottom of this message or send an email with "unsubscribe transition" in the "Subject" line to
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