Project CAREER

Project CAREER: Development of a Interprofessional Demonstration to Support the Transition of Students with TBI from Postsecondary Education to Employment

The incidence of traumatic brain injury (TBI) is high in young adults in the prime of their productive years. Individuals with TBI experience recovery in some functions but cognitive impairments, such as deficits with short-term memory, often remain, leading to barriers in gaining and maintaining employment. Best practices exist from the assistive technology field to help individuals with TBI compensate for cognitive impairments, and from the vocational rehabilitation field to enhance employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. However, these practices have not been merged to address the needs of individuals with TBI transitioning from undergraduate settings to employment.

In collaboration, Kent State University, West Virginia University, Boston University, and JBS International, are implementing an interdisciplinary program that merges assistive technology and vocational rehabilitation best practices to support Veteran and civilian postsecondary students with TBI transition to employment. The program entitled Project Career is funded through a 5-year development grant from the NIDILRR. From 2013-2018, we are developing, pilot-testing, and refining a cadre of sequenced services and supports for a minimum of 150 civilian and Veteran students with TBI. iPads provide the technological infrastructure for providing supports and services, including cognitive support technology, electronic-mentoring, case management, and follow-along support to maximize students’ career readiness and transition to employment settings.

Additional services include field-based internship placements and support for post-graduation job placement (see the full list of services provided for Project Career participants below).

Through the use of state-of-the-art technology and proven best practices in vocational rehabilitation, this innovative method of academic enrichment and career enhancement will substantially improve the bleak employment outcomes that presently await civilian and Veteran students with TBI following the completion of their academic training. The end product of Project Career is a compendium of technology application guidelines, training materials, procedural manuals, and resource information that rehabilitation professionals and consumers alike can utilize to promote technological proficiency, academic success, self-determination, and long-term career success for Americans with TBI.

Full list of services provided for Project Career participants

  1. Comprehensive assessment and planning of (1) the student with TBI's need, readiness and preferences for using the CST to help him or her overcome cognitive limitations and support vocational planning using Marcia Scherer's 'Matching Person and Technology Assessment Process', and (2) the student with TBI's vocational goals and preferences.
  2. Individualized cognitive support technologies targeted toward the needs and capabilities of each student
  3. Training in the use of the iPad and the specific CSTs
  4. An Electronic-Mentoring (E-Mentoring) program based on a peer support model
  5. Individualized vocational case management services
  6. Assistance in securing field-based internships
  7. A resource-directed job placement and accommodation planning seminar focused on technology transfer, self-advocacy, and professional networking
  8. Post-graduation follow-along employment support