Quarterly Connections: News from the MSU-NRTC
Linking Blindness and Low Vision Research to Practice
NIDRR Transition Project Complete
In October 2007, the MSU-NRTC received funding from the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) for a project focusing on employment outcomes of transition-age youth with blindness or other visual impairments. The project consisted of four major priorities, involving the following activities: (1) a systematic literature review of interventions and practices leading to employment outcomes for this population; (2) analyses of national databases to explore relationships and identify predictors of employment outcomes; (3) qualitative analyses of data from a variety of sources, such as VR case records, interviews with consumers and counselors, and focus groups with rehabilitation professionals; and (4) development, implementation, and evaluation of two online employment preparation interventions: one for youth in high school and one for youth in college.
The project was concluded in December 2011, resulting in the development of multiple publications and products in addition to a large number of presentations at national conferences during the grant period. A total of nine peer-reviewed publications were developed: five currently in print, four in press, and one under review. Four in-house publications were created (available on our website), and two products were developed: a transition calendar and an online employment preparation program. The Transition Activity Calendar is an update of a popular product developed under previous NIDRR funding; this tool has remained in use by teachers of the visually impaired for more than 20 years. This updated version is available online at our website at www.blind.msstate.edu/transition/tac. The second product, Career Advantage for V.I.P.s: An Employment Preparation Primer for Individuals who are Blind or Visually Impaired, is an outcome of priority 4. Although the original version was created specifically for college-age youth, this version was modified to make it applicable to people of any age who are seeking employment.
See our website for more information about this project, including a complete list of the publications and products developed: http://www.blind.msstate.edu/research/completed-research/transition/.
Thank you to NIDRR for the opportunity to conduct this important research and to Mr. Joseph DePhillips, our NIDRR Project Director, for his ongoing support!
Current NRTC Research Highlight:
In response to the 75th anniversary of the Randolph-Sheppard Act of 1936, President Obama released a January 2012 Presidential Memorandum to honor and celebrate the program's historic achievements. President Obama also directed federal agencies with property management responsibilities to ensure that agency officials comply with existing regulations and law in the establishment and operation of vending facilities. The Federal Randolph-Sheppard Vending Facility Program is administered by the Department of Education's Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA). Since its inception, more than 30,000 legally blind entrepreneurs have successfully operated vending facilities providing exceptional services to federal and state employees, the armed forces, and the general public. Vending facilities range from small snack shops, to tourist services at the Hoover Dam, to full-service cafeterias at military installations. Facility manager earnings average in excess of $50,000 annually.
MSU-NRTC staff are collaborating with Mr. Terry Smith (expert consultant on Randolph-Sheppard programs) and Mr. Daniel Frye (RSA Randolph-Sheppard Program Specialist) on research and training activities that will result in several product deliverables in support of Randolph-Sheppard programs nationwide, including
Directors of Randolph-Sheppard programs across the U.S. have completed surveys, and findings are being used in product development. Additional research and training activities will include publication of peer-reviewed and consumer-based manuscripts and presentations, including distance-format webinars. Please contact Brenda Cavenaugh (firstname.lastname@example.org) or B. J. LeJeune (email@example.com) with any training or marketing suggestions.
In the Works: Training and TA
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Successful Job Placement of the Older Blind Consumer
Other NRTC News:
Anne Sullivan Macy Scholar Joins MSU-NRTC Staff
Employment Mentoring Project Underway
Visit the NRTC Website and Participate in our Research!
Publications, Presentations, and Miscellanies
Publications Recently Archived for Download from Our Website:
Cavenaugh, B., Wolff, H. M, & Belant, M. W. (2011). References: Non-Intervention Research Studies: Factors Affecting Successful Secondary Transition Outcomes of Youth with Visual Impairments. Mississippi State, Mississippi: Mississippi State University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision.
Crudden, A. (2011). Research Report: Transition to Work: Rehabilitation Counselor Perspectives. Mississippi State, Mississippi: Mississippi State University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision.
Recent Publications/Publications in Press:
Cavenaugh, B. & Giesen, J. M. (in press). Annotated bibliography: A systematic review of transition interventions influencing successful employment outcomes of adolescents with visual impairments. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness.
Crudden, A. (in press). Transition to employment: Components for success. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness.
Giesen, J. M., & Cavenaugh, B. (in press). Transition-age youth who are blind in vocational rehabilitation: A new look at competitive outcomes and services. Journal of Visual Impairment & Blindness.
For Additional MSU-RRTC News and Activities:
Visit our website at http://www.blind.msstate.edu/.
This newsletter was supported in part by grant #H133B10022 from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). Newsletter contents do not represent policies of NIDRR or the Department of Education and viewers should not assume endorsement by the federal government. Please feel free to forward this newsletter to interested parties.
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