Study 6

Research Study #6

The Impact of Competency-based Training and TA on the Competitive Integrated Employment Outcomes of Individuals with IDD:
A Mixed Method Study

Research by Virginia Commonwealth University


A woman writing and working on a laptop.

It is important to study the impact of training and technical assistance (TA) on the knowledge and skills of employment specialists, because over 50% of all VR case service dollars are spent on supported employment. Employment specialists are the service providers who directly support people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD) in achieving Competitive Integrated Employment Outcomes (CIE) outcomes. However, we know that they are often poorly prepared for their jobs. They come from varied educational backgrounds from high school to college graduates, and there are no national guidelines for preservice training.


There are three phases for this study:

Phase 1: The first phase is to engage employment specialists in the design, research, and knowledge translation (KT) activities for designing and providing training on evidence-based employment practices.

Phase 2: The second phase is to evaluate the impact of competence-based training on the knowledge of employment specialists who provide employment services to people with IDD.

Phase 3: The third phase is to evaluate the impact of training and technical assistance (TA) on the skills of employment specialists and the impact of training and TA on the competitive integrated employment outcomes of individuals with IDD.

This study is the intervention development stage of research. We will test an intervention that has the potential for increasing the CIE outcomes of people with IDD. At this point, numerous states and agency providers are using the Association of Community Rehabilitation Educators (ACRE) competencies to develop curriculum to train employment specialists; however, there is no data regarding the outcomes achieved by employment specialists who complete and receive the basic certificate. Also, we do not know if individuals with IDD achieve improved CIE outcomes if services are provided by employment specialists who have completed the curriculum.