June Newsletter

DETAC’s Monthly Newsletter
Issue 1 | June 2021

In this Issue:

Message from DETAC ◆ Landscape Assessment & Five-Year Strategic plan ◆ Meet the AoD Grantee Representative Work Group ◆ Upcoming RISE Peer Learning Communities ◆ Coming Soon: DETAC Learning Management System ◆ DETAC’s National Monthly CoP Webinars

Welcome to the Disability Employment TA Center’s first monthly newsletter! Funded by the Administration for Community Living’s Administration on Disabilities, the Disability Employment TA Center (DETAC) provides evidence-based training and technical assistance (TA) to the Administration on Disabilities (AoD) grantees aimed at improving competitive, integrated employment (CIE) and economic outcomes for individuals with disabilities across the nation. AoD grantees receiving TA from the Center include Centers for Independent Living (CIL); State Councils on Developmental Disabilities (Councils); University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD); State Protection and Advocacy Systems (P&A); and Traumatic Brain Injury State Partnership Programs (TBI).

Since the Center’s launch in October 2021, we have been busy working with AoD grantees to complete the following initial ramp-up activities:

  • Conduct an environmental landscape assessment to identify challenges and promising practices in stimulating improved competitive integrated employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities and effectuate necessary systems-change
  • Launched the AoD Grantee Representative Work Group, comprised of fifteen representatives of AoD’s five federally funded grantees
  • Finalized the Center’s strategic 5-year plan, based upon feedback from grantees in the field, other stakeholder entities, and the AoD Grantee representative workgroup
  • Launched the Center’s Website and Initial Resource Clearinghouse
  • Initiated the Center’s National Community of Practice, open to anyone interested in engaging with the Center and accessing its technical assistance offerings
  • Solidified strategic partnerships with other federally-funded TA Centers and national disability organizations

We are now in the process of rolling out various technical assistance resources and activities and are excited to engage with AoD’s grantees, other stakeholders, and the public to propel the socio-economic advancement of individuals with disabilities through building the capacity of AoD’s grantees to support increased access to competitive integrated employment at an individual level and promote systems-change at a community and state level. We look forward to staying connected with you and engaging you in the Center’s critical mission and technical assistance offerings.

DETAC Needs Your Input: Landscape Assessment & Five-Year Strategic Plan

Recently, the DETAC published its environmental landscape assessment of grantees’ current impact on improving CIE outcomes, as well as the five-year strategic plan for the Center. The Center is looking for feedback from stakeholders about both the findings of the landscape assessment as well as the strategic plan. All feedback is requested by July 31st, 2021, and may be sent electronically to

Meet the AoD Grantee Representative Work Group

The Center’s AoD Grantee Representative Work Group will be actively engaged in the planning, implementation, analysis, and evaluation of the work of the Center and will provide critical feedback on future TA plans to assess the effectiveness of any activities from the previous quarter. The membership term lasts for two years. The initial meeting was held virtually in mid-February 2021, and the work Group convenes every other month in 2021 thereafter (April 2021, June 2021, August 2021), and quarterly in future years. Meet the AoD Grantee Representative Work Group and read their bios on the DETAC website About page.

Upcoming RISE Peer Learning Communities

As part of its technical assistance (TA) offerings to AoD’s federally-funded grant entities, DETAC will offer an array of time-limited, topically-focused, outcome-oriented e-learning communities. These virtual group communities referred to as Results in Systems Excellence (RISE) Peer Learning Communities, will leverage technical subject matter experts as well as peer mentors to focus on tackling common challenges and opportunities within one or more grantee categories to further their work to improve CIE outcomes for individuals with disabilities.

Recently, DETAC piloted its first RISE Peer Learning Community for DD Councils who desired additional support in developing their goals, objectives, and planned activities on specific projects related to improving individual and systems-level outcomes related to competitive integrated employment (CIE) as part of their five-year strategic plans (due to the Administration on Disabilities in August 2021 for the 2022-2026 cycle). 

A full round of additional RISE Peer Learning Communities will be starting up on a rolling basis during late summer and early fall of 2021, and will focus on the following topics:

  • Core Strategies for Forging Strong CIL-VR-Special Education Relationships 1.0
  • Creating a Dynamic Employment Program within your CIL 1.0
  • Legal Foundations Supporting Employment of PWD: Education & Advocacy Strategies for P&As to Promote CIE for PWD
  • Building a Premiere Employment Training Program within your UCEDD
  • Implementing Best Practices and Strategies for Supporting Individuals with Brain Injury w/ Sustainable Employment
  • Infusing Assistive Technology into Employment Policy & Progr
  • Fostering Stronger Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Supporting PWD in Employment 1.0 (The Basics)
  • Fostering Stronger Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Supporting PWD in Employment 2.0 (one for front-line professionals; one for management)
  • Revitalizing Employment in the Midst of and After a Pandemic:  COVID, Employment & Innovation for PWD

Keep an eye out for additional updates as each of these gets rolled out over the next six months, and continue to check out our website for more details!

Coming Soon: DETAC Learning Management System

The DETAC’s Learning Management System (LMS) will be a state-of-the-art, interactive platform where AoD grantees can complete courses on a variety of topics, receive professional development, participate in peer-learning communities and topical discussions, and download AoD-grantee specific curriculum and training. Some courses will be tailored specifically for different types of personnel (front line staff, mid-level management, executive leaders, and members of grantees’ board of directors). Each course will contain specific tools and suggested activities for immediately trying out and implementing various practices presented as part of the course, and will also include a testing component to confirm an individual has adequately captured the key information for that course. 

Be on the lookout for upcoming opportunities to sign up and receive an orientation on our dynamic LMS over the next couple of months! In the meantime, we encourage executive leaders at all AoD-funded grant entities to share information with staff within their organizations about the DETAC and encourage them to sign up for updates about these courses as they become available.

DETAC’s National Monthly Webinars

The Center hosts monthly national webinars on the second Tuesday of every month from 3:00-4:30 p.m. ET.
Register for DETAC’s Upcoming July 2021 Webinar:

Reflecting on the Americans with Disabilities Act: Advancements in Technological Support Solutions on the Job in a COVID World

July 13th, 2021, from 3:00-4:30 P.M. ET

Registration link:

Come join the Disability Employment TA Center as we celebrate the 31 st anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by highlighting the importance of technological innovation in supporting and propelling individuals with disabilities to secure and maintain competitive, integrated employment (CIE). Participants will get the opportunity to hear opening remarks from Alison BarkoffActing Administrator for the Administration for Community Living, on the impact that technological advancements have had in fulfilling the promise of the ADA. Then, participants will learn about innovative assistive technologies and applications that help individuals with significant disabilities improve their productivity and interpersonal communications in the workplace. Experts from the AT3 Center will also speak about the role that federally-funded assistive technology programs in every state and territory under the Assistive Technology Act can play in partnership with AoD grantees at the state and local level to enhance employment and economic outcomes for individuals with disabilities by increasing access to vital assistive technologies. Finally, participants will hear the real-life success stories of two individuals with disabilities who benefited from individualized technological solutions to help them achieve CIE.

Check out the recordings from our first three webinars:

The Power of Partnerships
March 15, 2021

Developing, fostering, and maintaining relationships are challenging but when the appropriate collaborations are in place the outcomes can be fruitful. This webinar highlighted the successful elements of grantee partnerships and will teach participants how to develop similar relationships intended to increase competitive, integrated employment and economic self-sufficiency for people with disabilities.

Innovate 2 Motivate: Designing & Scaling Innovative Models to Help People with Disabilities Achieve CIE & Economic Advancement
April 13, 2021

This webinar highlighted three innovative models to foster the achievement of competitive, integrated employment (CIE) and the economic status of people with disabilities. Specifically, participants learned how to identify challenges and design innovative solutions for overcoming these structural barriers in supporting people with disabilities, such as (but not limited to) creating job options in rural areas; supporting employment goals of individuals with disabilities among underserved populations, and pushing for the prioritization of disability employment systems-change with state policymakers. Specifically, the webinar showcased creative models on:

  • developing partnerships with non-disability entities that have a mission to advance employment for underserved and underrepresented populations;
  • serving native students with disabilities in rural areas through Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) funding with Vocational Rehabilitation; and
  • using the Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model to support individuals with Traumatic Brain Injury or an Acquired Brain Injury in achieving a viable path towards CIE.

Working4Inclusion: Strategies for AoD Grantees in Supporting Job Seekers with Disabilities to Leverage American Job Centers
May 11, 2021

This webinar showcased high-impact strategies through leveraging resources from the American Job Center (AJC) System to support people with disabilities in obtaining and maintaining competitive, integrated employment. Additionally, participants learned how to foster relationships with local American Job Centers to take advantage of the abundance of resources aimed at increasing employment and upward mobility for job seekers with disabilities.

Celebrating Olmstead: It’s Time for 14(c) Phase-Out: Lessons Learned from Advancing Legislation & Leaving the Shop
June 8, 2021

The June webinar focused on celebrating Olmstead by helping attendees understand the history of civil rights for people with disabilities. Additionally, the webinar highlighted Washington state’s successful model of passing legislation to permanently phase out 14(c) and sheltered work in the state, delving into the valuable role the Washington Council on Developmental Disabilities played in bringing stakeholders together in executing a coordinated advocacy strategy with state legislators. Participants also heard about the remarkable journey of four self-advocates from Washington State, Maryland, and Rhode Island who transitioned out of sheltered workshops or segregated work and into CIE, optimal self-sufficiency, and full community inclusion. 

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