Keywords: USA, training support professionals, ICT, job coaching and job development
Just in Time Virtual Employment Supports
|Name of Organisation||Midwest Disability Employment Consortium|
|Type of organisation||Consortium|
|Funding model||Fundraising (individual/ corporate/ foundations).
The Kessler Foundation provided $450,000 in funds to support project planning, implementation and evaluation activities. Each participating University partner provided an agreed upon 15% matching investment. Attention was paid to ensure that the intervention would be fiscally sustainable using traditional, public funding sources beyond the pilot project.
Impact and growth
This project successfully demonstrated the feasibility and cost-effectiveness of multiple virtual employment supports strategies. Supported workers achieved greater independence and productivity, and decreased problem behaviors on the job. Job coaches developed sustainable networks for brainstorming and problem solving, and demonstrated increased understanding of behavioral health interventions.
2018: 29 employment opportunities; 2019: 35 employment opportunities; 2020: anticipating exponential growth as a result of replication across the U.S. during the COVID crisis
While many interventions focus on improving initial job placement rates, this project is unique in that it addressed job retention through the use of virtual technologies. This was particularly timely, as the COVID-19 pandemic created new challenges for workers with disabilities who have remained employed as essential workers during a period of significant change in business operations.
While we believe this practice to be broadly applicable, the pilot projects focused on supporting individuals with the most significant disabilities, including intellectual, developmental and mental health disabilities. Additional emphasis was given to implementing and evaluating the impact of the practice in both rural and urban settings.
The primary barrier to replication identified before and during project implementation was having policies in place for vocational rehabilitation (VR) and Medicaid funding that support adoption and ongoing use of virtual employment supports. While this was the case for the pilot project states, the project was not broadly replicable across the U.S. However, lessons learned from this project became instrumental as states had to quickly adapt as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
THEORY OF CHANGE
We asked projects to outline their impact model (also called Theory of Change) – their main target groups, the key activities they offer these target groups, and what impact they want to achieve:
|Job coaches/developers; disability service providers (or equivalent based on country of implementation)||Training on utilization of remote supports (virtual job coaching, utilization of apps, virtual professional networking); ongoing technical assistance to support adoption and to address barriers as they emerge||Successful adoption and utilization of virtual technology to connect with employers, employees & jobseekers with disabilities, and professional peers||Measured increase in utilization of technology; reported impact (job retention or job gains) of individuals with disabilities served|
|Job seekers / employees with disabilities||Training on use of technology to receive remote supports (utilization of apps,virtual connecting with support professionals)||Successful utilization of virtual technology to connect with support staff (job coaches or equivalent); adoption of apps that support individualized on-the-job needs||Measured increase in access to and utilization of technology; self-report of technology-based strategies implemented on-the-job|
|Employers / business sector||Awareness raising about the availability and benefits of technology-based on-the-job supports for employees with disabilities and those who supervise them.||Increased support for and adoption of tech-based supports for employees with disabilities within the business sector||Measured increase in the number of employers/ businesses supportive of their employees with disabilities utilizing on-the-job remote supports;self-report of employers who pay for technology as a reasonable on-the-job accomodation|