Quality Employment Strategies: State Perspectives

On-Demand Presentation
In this Section

An ongoing need exists for State Vocational Rehabilitation personnel to stay current on contemporary practices that meet consumer needs and improve programmatic outcomes. The Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE) is helping states to identify and implement innovative employment strategies that help build capacity in key areas. A compendium of "frictionless" strategies is being used to deliver information and resources to VR practitioners as seamlessly as possible. This presentation will provide a brief overview of the VRTAC-QE supports and resources available to state VR programs and highlight innovative work currently underway in specific states as shared by agency personnel. Examples include insight from states regarding changes to policies and/or procedures, collaboration efforts, and counselor and staff implementation of innovative services.

Meet the Presenters:

Emily Brinck
photo of emilyDr. Emily A. Brinck is a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in the Wisconsin Center for Education Research (WCER) department serving on the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE) and the Wisconsin Career Advancement grants. Dr. Brinck received her Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Counselor Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her Master's in Management from Indiana University, and a Bachelor of Education: Intervention Specialist from Miami University. Dr. Brinck has had the opportunity to work as a researcher on the Wisconsin Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income (PROMISE) grant as well as the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Employer Practices (RRTC) grant. She has published articles in the Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin, Journal of Applied Rehabilitation Counseling, Career Development and Transition for Exceptional Individuals, and Rehabilitation Psychology and has presented her research at both state and national conferences.  Her research interests include interagency collaboration between schools, vocational rehabilitation, and employers; transition-age youth with disabilities towards successful postsecondary outcomes; and overcoming barriers to employment for people with disabilities. 

Timothy Tansey
photo of TimDr. Tansey received his Ph.D. in Rehabilitation Psychology from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He is a professor in the Rehabilitation Counselor Education program at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Dr. Tansey has over 20 years of experience as a rehabilitation counselor, educator, or rehabilitation researcher. He has published over 90 peer-reviewed articles in the areas of applying novel technology in vocational rehabilitation and rehabilitation counselor education, evidence-based practices in vocational rehabilitation, self-regulation, and self-determination. Dr. Tansey has extensive experience in adapting technology and utilizing social media for knowledge translation and dissemination activities. Dr. Tansey is the principal investigator on the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment, a project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education. He is currently the principal investigator, co-principal investigator, or co-investigator on several other federally-funded research or national technical assistance center grants from the U.S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of Labor, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (Social Security Administration and the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research). These current projects seek to ascertain evidence-based practices in the vocational rehabilitation of youth with disabilities, identify employer practices in the recruitment, hiring, retention, and promotion of persons with disabilities, and provide technical assistance to state vocational rehabilitation toward increasing competitive, integrated employment of persons with disabilities living in areas of extreme poverty. Dr. Tansey has developed doctoral-level training focused on online and hybrid pedagogy as well as established numerous online, hybrid, and technology-enhanced courses. He serves as the co-editor of the Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin and on the editorial boards for numerous other journals.

Malachy Bishopphoto of Malachy
Malachy Bishop, Ph.D, CRC, is the Norman L. and Barbara M. Berven Professor of Rehabilitation Psychology in the Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Education Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. From 2000-2018 he served as a professor of Rehabilitation Counseling with the University of Kentucky and was Rehabilitation Counseling Doctoral Program Coordinator (2012-2018) and Director of Research for the University of Kentucky’s University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, the Interdisciplinary Human Development Institute (2014-2018). Dr. Bishop’s clinical background includes rehabilitation counseling, rehabilitation psychology and neuropsychology in physical medicine and rehabilitation and other health care settings. He conducts research in employment and psychosocial aspects of chronic neurological conditions, including multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and other chronic neurological conditions, and the application of quality of life research to adaptation to chronic illness and disability. Dr. Bishop was an appointed member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on Public Health dimensions of the Epilepsies, and served for several years on the Epilepsy Foundation’s National Professional Advisory Board as a consultant on employment and psychosocial aspects of epilepsy. He has served on the Clinical Advisory Committee of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Kentucky/Southeast Indiana Chapter, and the National Multiple Sclerosis Society’s Wellness Workgroup. Dr. Bishop is on the editorial board of several professional rehabilitation journals, and he has authored over 130 articles in professional journals and book chapters in rehabilitation and health care, co-edited 5 books, and made over 60 research and training presentations throughout the U.S. and internationally. Dr. Bishop was the 2020 recipient of the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association James F. Garrett Distinguished Career in Rehabilitation Research Award, the 2015 George N. Wright Varsity Award, the 2015 National Council on Rehabilitation Education’s Researcher of the Year Award, and the American Rehabilitation Counseling Association’s Research Award.

Cayte Anderson
photo of CayteDr. Anderson serves as the Director of Research with the Stout Vocational Rehabilitation Institute, in a dual appointment partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Educated as a rehabilitation counselor, Dr. Anderson has worked in the field providing individualized job development and placement, vocational evaluation, and work incentive benefit counseling services to youth and adults with disabilities prior to entering academia. Her research interests focus on better understanding and improving socioeconomic opportunities for individuals with disabilities through use of evidence-based practices, with an emphasis on youth and families, competitive integrated employment, career pathways, and financial empowerment.

Dr. Anderson currently serves as the President of the Commission on Rehabilitation Counselor Certification (CRCC) and actively contributes numerous professional rehabilitation and counseling organizations. She collaborates with key stakeholders across systems including researchers and evaluators, individuals with disabilities and families, administrators, policy makers, educators, and service providers.

Jessica Holtonphoto of Jessica
Jessica currently serves as the Program Manager for Wisconsin Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR)'s Career Pathways Advancement Initiative and as a State Vocational Rehabilitation Agency (SVRA) Liaison for the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE). Previously, she was with WI DVR as a Program & Policy Analyst – Advanced for over five years, a Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor (VRC) and VRC-Advanced in Milwaukee, WI for six years, and a VRC in Bloomington, IN for over two years. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Rehabilitation Counselor with an M.S. in Rehabilitation Psychology from UW-Madison. She also recently completed San Diego State University's National Rehabilitation Leadership Institute.

Stacie Castillo 
photo of StacieStacie Castillo, M.S., serves as the Project Manager for the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment (VRTAC-QE) grant. Additionally, she servces as a Financial Specialist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She obtained her master’s degree from UW-Madison, in Rehabilitation Psychology. She currently coordinates the technical assistance planning and activities for the VRTAC-QE as well as manages the financial aspects of six federal grants at UW-Madison. She has spent most of her career working with individuals with disabilities, primarily as a part of the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in New Mexico. She currently works at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.