ICI Research & State Systems Teams Partner with Minnesota VR and Florida VR on Two New Competitive Integrated Employment Projects

Competitive integrated employment is a key part of ICI employment research and services. Competitive integrated employment is employment that:

  • pays employees at or above minimum wage

  • is performed in integrated settings (not sheltered workshops)

  • is among people with and without disabilities

The US Department of Education awarded $177 million in new grants to increase competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities across the country. These grants are for subminimum wage to competitive integrated employment (SWTCIE) demonstration projects.

Kelly Haines and Jean Winsor are partnering with Minnesota and Florida VR on these SWTCIE grant projects to improve access to competitive integrated employment for people with disabilities who are currently earning less than minimum wage.

As part of their grant project, the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development VR Services will be implementing the progressive employment (PE) model, a dual-customer, team approach that uses work-based learning strategies to meet the needs of businesses and job seekers with barriers to employment. The PE model originated in Vermont Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in 2009 and is now being implemented in eight state VR agencies as a strategy to support job seekers who have significant barriers to employment, such as people with limited work history, corrections involvement, substance abuse issues, and other qualities that may signal risk to a business.

In Florida, the ICI will provide evaluation and knowledge translation support to the Florida Arts to Competitive Integrated Employment (ArtCIE) Project, which will offer opportunities to 1,000 people with disabilities to access competitive integrated employment. ArtCIE will create a dual-customer career exploration model with innovations in:

  • peer mentoring

  • work experience

  • virtual reality modules

  • business engagement

The project will provide training for 14(c) certificate holders, people with disabilities, families, school personnel, and employers. We will also create a Toolkit of resources and strategies to replicate these practices within and beyond Florida.

Learn more about Progressive Employment at the ICI.

Congratulations to the Research & State Systems Teams!