Delving into Diverse Backgrounds and Disadvantaged Communities

Project E3TC staff Tim Tansey, Alo Dutta, Madan Kundu, and Fong Chan wrote “From admiration of the problem to action: Addressing the limited success in vocational rehabilitation of persons from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds,” published in the recent Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation’s Special Issue on Rehabilitation of Persons from Diverse Racial and Cultural Backgrounds.

The Challenge

This article, and other articles included in this issue, highlight matters central to the E3TC project: As stated in the editorial,

  • work is central to the health and well-being of people with or without disabilities;
  • people with disabilities are significantly less likely to be working than people without disabilities;
  • people from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds, with disabilities or without disabilities, experience additional barriers in obtaining and retaining employment; and
  • people with disabilities from diverse racial and cultural backgrounds receiving services from state vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies lag behind their non-Hispanic white counterparts in terms of employment outcomes and employment quality.

Limitations in Research and Practices Result in Diminished Employment Outcomes for People with Disabilities from Diverse Backgrounds and Disadvantaged Communities

The authors underscore words spoken by Dr. Paul Wehman (2016), who in a recent presentation “clarified limitations in existing research and practice by providing the following statement (attributed to Dr. David Test):”

“Are we ready to develop meaningful interventions that empirically prove what works for better employment outcomes or will we continue to Admire the Problem?”

The article states, the research that supports evidenced-based interventions for individuals with disabilities from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds from disadvantaged communities is scarce.  This reality prompted the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), recognizing the barriers experienced by people with disabilities living in these marginalized communities where poverty and unemployment are epidemic, to solicit proposals for the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Targeted Communities (VRTAC-TC) or E3TC as it came to be called.

Project E3 (Empower, Educate, Employ) for Targeted Communities

Project E3 (Empower, Educate, Employ) for Targeted Communities was created to “demonstrate, train, and support [VR] counselors in developing multicultural competence, to engage individuals with multiple stigmatized identities living in marginalized communities in VR, and to improve their employment and quality of life outcomes.”

Project E3TC, led by Southern University and A&M College is currently developing a system of interventions for 12 distinct Targeted Communities (TC) across the nation. These TC projects, designed and implemented by Project E3 personnel with assistance from state VR agencies and community partners, are intended to apply emerging, promising, and evidence-based VR practices in these targeted communities to support the identification, recruitment, and engagement of persons with disabilities in state VR services.

Explore More!

Find out more about the goals of this project and to read more about the challenges faced by people with disabilities from diverse backgrounds and disadvantaged communities.

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