Welcome to Southeast TACE
The mission of the Technical Assistance and Continuing Education (TACE) Center Region IV (Southeast TACE) is to provide technical assistance (TA) and continuing education (CE) activities that meet the strategic goals and program performance needs of state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and their community partners.
In this season of thanks, the Southeast TACE team would like to express our gratitude for everyone who has been a part of making the TACE a success. Sadly, federal funding for regional TACE centers ended effective September 30, 2014. TACE activities, including the networks, email distribution lists, webinars, etc. have been completed. Although the Southeast TACE website is "live" for now, content will eventually be distributed to states and to New Editions, which was awarded the Rehabilitation Services Administration clearinghouse contract.
We are proud of the work the Southeast TACE staff and you, our partners, have accomplished over the past five years. TACE staff were focused in their efforts and addressed the strongest needs they saw regionally and nationally. Toward this end, they conducted a needs assessment and identified two major areas of challenge: Employment of People with the Most Significant Disabilities and Transition. Then they devoted themselves to providing technical assistance and continuing education activities around these areas of challenge, striving to deliver services that would meet the strategic goals and program performance needs of state Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) agencies and community partners.
To summarize a few of the highlights:
- Hosted monthly National VR Transition Network webinars and the network website. The information was specifically geared to VR, rather than to educators or families.
- Disseminated findings from work in the southeast at regional and national conferences.
- Hosted over 200 webinars.
- Established projects around Customized Employment, which finally gave states and agencies a viable option to work with people with the most significant disabilities. The goal had been to extend this practice throughout the region.
- In the area of Transition, the emphasis was on employment. TACE staff brought in subject matter experts from around the country on internship and other employment-related topics.
- Introduced Asset Development and Financial Literacy to the country as key topics in the employment of people with disabilities. Although TACE staff didn't get far with this project, they were able to pilot it in a couple of states and show what an important part asset development and financial literacy are of VR services. It takes benefits planning to a whole new level.
- Created, facilitated, and maintained networks (Transition, Job Development, Fiscal Operations, etc.) for collaboration and coordination.
- Created, facilitated and maintained an active Community of Practice (COP) with agencies using Customized Employment strategies.
- Both the networks and the COP provided forums for agencies to receive technical assistance in groups, share information, and bring in subject matter experts when needed.
- Because of the Southeast TACE team's strong commitment to evaluate our center's impact on state agencies, staff encouraged those agencies to continually evaluate and demonstrate the effectiveness of technical assistance, continuing education, etc.
Our TACE received a "no-cost extension" to fund wrap-up activities, particularly around Customized Employment. Staff members are currently working with programs to sustain the network and Customized Employment (CE) projects. Lots of time and effort went into the CE projects, so we are pushing to evaluate their effectiveness and identify ways for them to continue.
By following a business model of finding expertise where it already exists instead of building a big TACE staff, we have been fortunate to work with top-notch subject matter experts regionally and nationally. We have welcomed the opportunity to promote the Southeast's regional identity, both through facilitating connections within the region and through our visible efforts at the national level. We are thankful for your participation in the various TACE activities over the years, for your comments and critiques that encouraged us to continually improve and expand the services we offered, and for your commitment and dedication to helping people with disabilities achieve their dreams. It has been a great run!
Chip Kenney, Southeast TACE Project Director and Principle Investigator