RRTC 2009-2014

The Rehabilitation Research and Training Center is funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research and the Center for Mental Health Services, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration for a five year period. Its mandate is to focus on an specific area of disability, develop new knowledge and translate that knowledge into useable tools for stakeholders. The RRTC is divided into two components: the Research Program and the Training, Dissemination, and Technical Assistance Program.

Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Improved Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities, 2009-2014.

Marianne Farkas, Sc.D.
Co-Principal Investigator

E. Sally Rogers, Sc.D.
Co-Principal Investigator


Training, Dissemination, and Technical Assistance (TDTA) Program Mission

The mission of the RRTC-TDTA program is to increase the use of new knowledge and technology in the areas of vocational recovery and vocational psychiatric rehabilitation by an increasing number of consumers, family members, practitioners, service providers, researchers, policy makers, and others and their organizations in order to better assist people with serious psychiatric disabilities in achieving their preferred employment outcomes.

Areas of Concentration

The three primary components of the TDTA Program include 1) delivering general training, dissemination, and short-term technical assistance activities on an ongoing basis over the five-year RRTC funding cycle; 2) implementing TDTA developmental projects; and 3) coordinating with other divisions of the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation to increase the utilization of the results of the RRTC. Based on the established Federal priorities as noted, Training, Dissemination, and Technical Assistance projects are organized into three main areas.

Current Training Projects are focused on the development of new interventions or Knowledge Translation:

Vocational Illness Management and Recovery (VIMR)

VIMR project seeks to develop a vocationally oriented IMR (V-IMR) curriculum and implementation kit that can be used with IPS or other employment services to maximize employment outcomes. The training program will consist of a curriculum and an implementation kit. The curriculum will include classroom and on-the-job supervision. Like the original IMR training, V-IMR will be designed for providers with the involvement of their supervisors, in order to ensure the embedding of V-IMR in agency practice. Project materials including a training curriculum and an implementation kit (Leader’s Guide, Fidelity Assessment Checklist, Practitioner Protocols, and Supervision Guidelines) will be developed or adapted from the original IMR materials. These will be piloted and revised to deliver illness management, cognitive techniques, coping strategies, as well as strategies to deal with stigma and job accommodations to maximize work outcomes. 

Vocational Peer Support: Developing a training program for Vocational Peer Specialists (VPS)

The VPS project aims to address the need for a vocational training programs for peer support providers to gain the skill and knowledge necessary to address the confidence barriers, vocational rehabilitation knowledge, readiness development, vocational decision-making needs, and job-keeping strategies that people need. This project will develop a training program to enhance peer support/certified peer specialist training programs. The program consists of a curriculum and supervision protocols for teaching the critical skills needed for peers to support individuals in activities, such as navigating and engaging in vocational services, participating in a vocational rehabilitation process, supporting vocational choices, and supporting employment success. In addition, it will develop technical assistance materials to promote adoption of the program. 

Vocational Empowerment Training: Using PhotoVoice (VE)

Vocational Empowerment, a peer led intervention combines two promising practices based in research, i.e., PhotoVoice and Rehabilitation Readiness. VE intends to engage people with psychiatric disabilities in the vocational domain and empower them to use employment services. The peer-led training program will consist of a curriculum and implementation kit, designed to integrate the Readiness Development Technology with the PhotoVoice process in order to increase the vocational empowerment of Latinos and non-Latinos with psychiatric disabilities.

Creating a Job Development , Distance Learning Course

A Distance Learning course will be developed to teach providers the skills of job development and retention. The course, designed to be culturally responsive for diverse populations and geographic locations, will blend web conferencing, text, assignments, video presentations, student discussion, “live classroom,” and other distance learning aids into a learning management system complemented by field supervision. The course will target employment service providers who work in programs, such as: the state Vocational Rehabilitation Agency, Supported Employment programs, PACT programs, ICCD Clubhouses, Community Rehabilitation Providers in VR, and Employment Networks under the Ticket to Work. Those who work in non-vocational programs but offer support for consumers in employment, such as Peer Specialists, also will benefit.

Job Accommodations Website Enhancement

This project will use the Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation’s knowledge translation process to conduct a comprehensive review of the literature on job accommodations for individuals with psychiatric disabilities, work with three specific target associations to develop information tools based on the review, and provide web-based technical assistance through enhancements of an existing Job Accommodation website so that the organizations can disseminate new research findings to their constituencies and broader national audiences.  

National Learning Community on Employment

A national group of experts in mental health and employment issues will be invited to come together in an online community, to develop a vision for promoting employment parity in the United States-in other words , the vision of having the same rate and levels of employment for individuals with psychiatric disabilities and for individuals without disabilities. The group will focus on developing strategies that might move the national agenda forward with respect to adults who are early in their employment careers. The project seeks to understand the contribution of an electronic community towards developing a national strategy.