In order to help states introduce or integrate effective practices into their service portfolios, TACE invites agency leaders to propose Innovations projects that will meet their organization’s needs and lead to improved performance and outcomes. As a result, VR agencies in the southeast region are actively piloting or adopting a variety of practices proven effective in other domains though largely untested in the VR context. Projects are innovative because the identified practice or strategy represents a distinct change or advance for the VR agency. The innovation may be a matter of building new skills, adjusting policies or regulations or negotiating new partnerships in order to accommodate the practice.
Project proposals represent a departure from business as usual for the organization and include provisions for evaluation, sustainability and dissemination. Most projects start with a small pilot and are followed by replication and dissemination strategies in subsequent phases. Depending on the nature of the project, TACE provides supports in the form of project management, training, evaluation and dissemination of findings; and strategizes with state agencies to sustain the innovation over time. Examples of pilot projects include:
Spotlight on Emerging Practices
TACE Projects Equip VR to Improve Outcomes for Jobseekers with Most Significant Disabilities
Five TACE-sponsored projects were shown to advance VR understanding and utilization of best practices in the southeast, building VR capacity to improve outcomes for jobseekers with the most significant disabilities. TACE’s white paper Impact of Innovations Projects on VR Adoption of Emerging Practices 2009-2012, will appear in the Spring issue of the Journal of Rehabilitation Administration
in Vocational Rehabilitation
integrating proven employment practices into the VR context
Practices being considered or explored in the VR context include:
Discovery: An alternative to traditional vocational assessment
- Introducing best practices such as Customized Employment (see sidebar).
- Building capacity of staff and providers to implement innovative practices.
- Building systems capacity to integrate evidence-based practices into policy and operations
- Increasing community collaboration
- Creating common language/understanding of strategies for providers, agencies, consumers.
- Improving knowledge about emerging issues, e.g., financial self-sufficiency and asset development (see sidebar) or working with traditionally underserved populations.