Research

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 Funded by the United States Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR).

Training and Technical Assistance

Principal Investigator: B. J. LeJeune, bjlejeune@colled.msstate.edu

The purpose of the NRTC training activities is to share center research findings with a diverse audience, including Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) personnel, employers, students, researchers, and individuals who are blind or visually impaired and their families. A wide variety of communication methods, including the compilation of research findings into fact sheets, internet resources, newsletters, refereed and consumer journal articles, online courses, and audio files of stakeholder discussions are being employed in order to communicate the NRTC’s research findings.

Several of the research projects under this Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC) will result in evidence-based training materials and/or guidelines that, if implemented, can improve employment outcomes for persons who are blind or visually impaired. One goal of the NRTC training program is to share these evidence-based vocational strategies and interventions in order to increase the effectiveness of services provided by VR.

Training activities under the RRTC grant include:

  • Pre-service lectures for graduate and undergraduate students
  • Training workshops and presentations for state, regional, and national professional and consumer conferences
  • Scholarship employment of a postgraduate researcher
  • In-service workshops for state VR agencies
  • Continuing education courses for CEU and CRC credit
  • State of the Science conference, hosted by the NRTC in April 2014

In addition to its training activities, the NRTC continues to be a national leader in providing technical assistance (TA) to persons who are blind or visually impaired, their service providers, and other stakeholders. In this tradition, this center continually provides TA to individuals who are blind and their representatives, rehabilitation personnel, agency administrators, policymakers, researchers, employers, post-secondary students, special educators, school districts, students who are entering the rehabilitation field, and other interested parties.

In order to increase the number of people reached by the RRTC research project findings, the NRTC expanded existing TA activities by:

  • Establishing a web-based National Technical Assistance Center (NTAC) on Blindness and Visual Impairment that houses resources for improving employment outcomes of persons who are blind or visually impaired
  • Providing individualized TA to VR agency personnel and individuals with blindness and low vision through phone calls, emails, and direct contact at meetings and conferences

All training and technical assistance activities and products are provided in accessible formats.