The purpose of this project is to build capacity in the Kansas Vocational Rehabilitation system to enhance the self-determination of consumers and better enable them to identify vocational outcomes, set career goals, establish an action plan, and evaluate and modify that plan.
Research indicates that self-determined individuals achieve more positive employment outcomes than do peers who are not, even when level of disability is accounted for. By enabling Vocational Rehabilitation consumers to self-direct vocational planning and decision-making, the Vocational Rehabilitation system can reduce recidivism and better enable individuals with disabilities to turn an entry level job into a career. Instead of waiting on overburdened service systems to find second or third, higher paying jobs for them, individuals with disabilities can take control over and responsibility for doing so.
Project activities will benefit all Vocational Rehabilitation consumers. The primary focus will be on enhancing the system to meet the needs of individuals with significant disabilities, including individuals with cognitive and multiple disabilities.
We suggest that if Vocational Rehabilitation consumers are better able to take control over and responsibility for their career advancement, fewer will need long term or repeat services which, in turn, will free up resources to serve more persons. We will solicit stakeholder input throughout the project, utilizing multiple decision points pertaining to the development and implementation of project products and activities during which stakeholders (state personnel, counselors, consumers, family members) feedback will be obtained and incorporated into project activities.
Project activities lead to the 'transfer of control' of project activities and responsibilities to these stakeholders, resulting in a statewide implementation and ensuring ongoing implementation of project-funded components. Primary activities will focus on the development of materials and conduct of training designed to enhance Vocational Rehabilitation counselors' capacity to promote consumer self-directed planning and decision-making and recognize and support individual strengths and capacity to self-regulate the career process. Because Vocational Rehabilitation counselors in Kansas work closely with school-based transition teams as well as adult populations, project activities will provide capacity-building in both age groups.
This project also strengthens the capacity of the community itself to provide services and supports that enhance self-determination and individual capacity to solve problems, make decisions, and set and attain vocational goals. The project utilizes the capacity of faculty at the University of Kansas to develop methods and materials to promote self-determination, and provides a system-wide process to implement innovative efforts to provide individuals with disabilities the means to become more self-determined. The project will result in policy and process changes to promote self-determination, training and support materials for Vocational Rehabilitation counselors and community service providers, and will prepare individuals with disabilities to assume greater responsibility for their vocational outcomes, and provides what is missing in many reform efforts aimed at changing funding streams; enhanced capacity of the person being served to self-direct aspects of their lives.
* This project is funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration Project # H235H000059
Page updated 10/12/06
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