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Empower Kansans: Achieving Employment and Health Goals with Digital Technology

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Photo of Sara Sack

Sara Sack, Ph.D., Project Director

Sheila Simmons, M.A., Project

Funded by: UnitedHealthcare Community & State, UnitedHealthcare of the Midwest, Inc.

ATK staff will present five four-day iPad training workshops for seventy-five individuals with disabilities and/or health conditions interested in employment. Each of the workshops will be scheduled over a period of four to six weeks and be conducted by one of ATK’s five regional AT Access Sites.  The two primary priorities of the project are: 1) provide access to digital devices that provide the support individuals with disabilities need to overcome barriers to achieving their employment goals and, 2) teach individuals with disabilities the technology skills needed to obtain and retain employment.  Based on the data from the previous year, an additional objective and priority are identified:

  • Identify skills that are most essential for individuals with traumatic brain injuries and/or mental health issues to master so they are successful in obtaining and maintaining employment
  • Prioritize involvement of individuals with disabilities in rural settings in the technology and employment skills workshop.

Outcome Measures

ATK values the acquisition of technology skills to help people with disabilities overcome barriers to their personal goals. However, the priority of the project is to provide the technology supports individuals need to obtain and maintain competitive employment. The initial project did not target any specific population and the majority of the participants were local residents. Individuals participating in the workshops provided input on the need for additional supports to decrease or eliminate the demand for travel yet maintain the camaraderie of the three pilot workshops.

ATK staff who led the workshops noted that participants with traumatic brain injury and mental health issues appeared to need more structure to develop an employment and learning plan that met their needs. Follow-up post workshop data supported these impressions.  ATK is targeting similar size workshops of 15 participants in each region but increased the employment outcome targets based on the performance of the initial pilot participants. Data on participation and skill acquisition is collected throughout the workshop implementation, in the third quarter follow-up period, and employment data collection will continue through the fourth quarter. 

  1. Minimum 70 of 75 completing workshops and the individualized goals on their employment plans.
  2. Minimum of 5 – 7 individuals with traumatic brain injury and/or mental health issues participating in each of the five workshops (25 – 35 participants; 33%-50% of 75 participants).
  3. Minimum of 35 individuals from rural communities complete the workshop training (50% of 75 participants).
  4. Minimum of 25 individuals obtaining full and/or part-time employment (33% of the 75 participants).

ATK is committed to helping people with disabilities achieve their personal employment goals.  After completion of this project, ATK management staff will utilize data analyzed from the rural outreach training methods and employment data to approach state agencies to propose possible data driven service delivery models that support people with disabilities to obtain and retain competitive employment that could be managed by ATK or other community service providers across the state.

NOTE: Applications for participation in this project will be available soon.  Check the Assistive Technology website in May, 2015.

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