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VCU receives $8.8M to support employment of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Virginia Commonwealth University received a grant from the National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) to fund the Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) on Employment of Transition-Age Youth with Disabilities. The grant was awarded for $875,000 a year for a period of five years to establish this RRTC in partnership with Vanderbilt University, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Kent State University. The principal investigator is Paul Wehman, Ph.D., a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation in the VCU School of Medicine and in the Department of Counseling and Special Education in the VCU School of Education.

The RRTC will conduct six studies to generate evidence-based interventions to assist youth to enter competitive integrated employment: 1) a systematic review of the literature to assess and organize the relevant research to inform their work 2) a pilot study of an intervention on effective knowledge translation methods for counselors working with students with significant disabilities ages 14-16 3) a randomized control trial to study the effects of paid internships for at-risk youth with disabilities prior to graduation 4) a randomized control trial to examine the effects of technology for college students with traumatic brain injury and develop an intervention 5) a randomized control trial on the effects of paid work in high school for youth with severe disabilities and 6) an intervention on the effects of an online course and subsequent technical assistance for postsecondary staff providing employment supports for college students with Intellectual and/or Developmental Disabilities

The grant began Oct. 1, 2019 and will run for five years. The studies' results will be shared nationally and internationally through research briefs, journal articles, online trainings, conference presentations, and social media.