The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Youth – Technical Assistance Center’s (Y-TAC) three main goals are to:
- Increase the number of youth with disabilities (YwD) served by state VR agencies;
- Increase the number of youth with disabilities served by state VR agencies who pursue and obtain postsecondary education or training resulting in a postsecondary degree, credential, or nationally recognized occupational skills certificate; and
- Increase the number of youth with disabilities served by state VR agencies who obtain competitive integrated employment.
Y-TAC accomplishes these goals through providing Universal, Targeted, and Intensive technical assistance (TA) this multi-modal approach includes a combination of distance delivery and in-person training while taking into account a variety of learning styles.
Y-TAC offers Universal TA to all state VR agencies, partners, and stake holders with varying needs and interests. This method includes knowledge-development activities, conducts needs analysis activities, develops and maintains a website for general public use, provides curriculum guides, and shares products, webinars, and select lessons learned on tested, Evidence-Based Practices (EBP) for improving outcomes for youth with disabilities.
The majority of Targeted TA can be delivered via Communities of Practice (CoP), groups that come together based on common goals, challenges or other affinity (location, population served, funding source). COPs share EBPs and participate in many TA activities via online technology, conference calls, webinars, publications, and services. Y-TAC uses a specialized CoP platform with membership-based workgroups, discussions, and resource sharing. Individuals opting into the CoP have access to a community list-serve, calendar, discussion board, highlighted resources, and workspace for collaboration and document sharing.
Short-term TA needs may arise that warrant a state or regional meeting, webinars, conference workshops, or on-site professional development events.
The provision of Intensive TA entails a selection process, needs assessment, co-ownership of the TA, site visits and in-person assistance, leading by convening, and selections from a menu of Evidence-Based Practices (EBPs).
Selection Process: Through both Universal and Targeted TA, information is gathered on every state and outreach is made to each state VR agency. Selection process considerations include:
- Diversity of geography, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and disability;
- An understanding of the educational backgrounds and underserved target populations; and
- An analysis of State Plans, 911 data, and other information.
Priority is given to sites that exhibit commitment to the TA efforts and show an ability to grow and continuously replicate practices throughout the state.
Intensive TA Agreements & TA Plan Development: Once sites are selected, Y-TAC asks each State VR agency receiving intensive TA to sign an agreement indicating it will participate in a needs assessment and work closely with the VR Y-TAC on developing a simple plan of action. An initial TA plan is developed and then finalized after the first site visit. The finalized TA plan includes the TA’s purpose, and intended outcomes and measurable objectives. TA is responsive to agency needs and helps the agency further the objectives of their RSA State Plan, fulfill requirements of WIOA, facilitate data collection, and achieve positive outcomes for youth with disabilities. The TA are not intended to be an extra task or burden for State VR agencies.
Site-Visits and In-Person Assistance: Each State VR agency selected for intensive TA has a TA Team consisting of a Y-TAC staff member and at least one SME to make site visits to state and select local sites, conduct phone meetings, discuss the needs assessment, monitor progress, and adjust TA to meet the agency’s needs.
Leading by Convening: The VR Y-TAC assists State VR agencies receiving intensive TA to build collaborative cross-boundary partnerships among state-level and local entities, including secondary schools, workforce development, foster care, juvenile justice, and mental health systems, homeless and runaway service providers, and groups supporting transition to postsecondary education and the workplace. The Leading by Convening framework is used to facilitate cross-system collaboration. The Leading by Convening framework outlines a strategy for building connections and fostering authentic engagement. The framework includes habits (coalescing around issues, ensuring relevant participation, doing the work together), elements (adaptive, technical, operational), and depth of interaction (informing, networking, collaborating, transforming). These sessions can be held as state or local day-long meetings.
Professional Development Options: In coordination with the expressed needs of the State VR agencies receiving intensive TA, the VR Y-TAC provides professional development to VR personnel at the state and possibly local levels using Knowledge Skills Acquisition from the menu of services. In particular, VR personnel assist in delivering evidence-based services and developing Individualized Plans for Employment (IPE).
Management by Data: The VR Y-TAC assists State VR agencies with data collection and management using a management by data approach to and streamline data collection and put in place data sharing agreements that inform the TA. By using this efficient technological strategy, the VR Y-TAC helps State VR agencies tailor and refine services and relieve staffing pressures to devote more staff to consumers.
Currently, the Y-TAC States are Arizona, Alaska, Iowa Blind, Nevada, Virginia Blind, Kentucky Blind, Oklahoma, Indiana, North Carolina, and New York.
For a more information about our TA services, please visit our Intensive TA Menu of Activities and Services page.
Contact Us with your requests for information, questions, or feedback. We value your input and welcome the opportunity to provide you with the answers and information you seek.