ASPIRE!

ASPIRE logo

The Promoting the Readiness of Minors in Supplemental Security Income, or PROMISE, program is an interagency collaboration of the U.S. Education Department, the U.S. Health and Human Services Department, the U.S. Labor Department and the U.S. Social Security Administration. The program strives to improve the education and career outcomes of low-income children with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income and their families. Under the PROMISE program, state agencies have partnered to develop and implement six model demonstration projects (MDPs) serving 11 states


Veronica and VictorAchieving Success by Promoting Readiness for Education and Employment, or ASPIRE, is a PROMISE model demonstration project consortium of six states—Arizona, Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Utah.

ASPIRE helps families gain a clear understanding of how benefits work and ways to earn more money while keeping their health care.

Equipped with this knowledge and the support of their ASPIRE case managers, ASPIRE Montana families are taking charge of their futures by participating in benefits counseling and returning to work.

Veronica, an ASPIRE parent, left her job to care for her son, Victor, when his seizures increased in frequency and severity. Veronica felt she could not go back to work because they needed Medicaid to cover the high costs of critical medications and procedures. This left the family with benefits that were not meeting their needs. They felt stuck between choosing health care and having enough money to pay for other essentials without going into debt.

As an eligible ASPIRE participant, Victor met with a certified benefits counselor and learned how employment really affects their benefits.

He has now set a goal to get a part-time job. To prepare for a job, Victor has learned how to read job descriptions, apply for jobs, and take advantage of the career services in his community.

Victor is also gaining independence and exploring assistive technology to help him move into employment and through life more safely and independently.

Veronica is planning to return to work.

Victor and Veronica have also shared the information they have learned through ASPIRE with the rest of their family. These two and their other family members are now connecting with services, applying for jobs, and moving toward financial security without risking the loss of their health insurance.


Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy.

Finding Rehabilitation Training Materials: RSA Technical Assistance and Other Resources

National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM) -- RSA Funded Assistance & Other Resources

For National Disability Employment Awareness Month, check out the many resources available in the National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM), funded by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).

Bookmark the NCRTM RSA Technical Assistance & Other Resources page for quick access to the RSA portal, RSA TA centers and funded projects, Workforce Innovation Opportunity Act (WIOA) federal partners, other resources and research databases.

In this second of a three-part blog series from NCRTM, we share information from three more RSA-funded TA centers and highlight resources that can serve as a springboard for learning about new ideas, and promising and effective practices for expanding disability employment opportunities.

View our first blog from NCRTM.


Logo - Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC)

Workforce Innovation Technical Assistance Center (WINTAC)

The WINTAC helps state VR agency staff, rehabilitation professionals and service providers develop the skills and processes needed to meet the requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).

WINTAC helps agencies, staff, professionals and service providers with pre-employment transition services (Pre-ETS) to students with disabilities and supports employment services to youth with disabilities. Pre-ETS makes up one of WINTAC’s five focus areas, all of which can be found on WINTAC’s site. The following links to Pre-ETS resources can help get you started:

  • WINTAC Pre-Employment Transition Services Page
    • Contains an overview of pre-employment transition services with information and links to promising practices and literature review, resources, training, frequently asked questions, and laws, regulations and policies
    • Describes the required Pre-ETS services that include:
      • Job exploration counseling
      • Work-based learning experiences, which may include in-school or after school opportunities, experiences outside of the traditional school setting, and/or internships
      • Counseling on opportunities for enrollment in comprehensive transition or postsecondary educational programs
      • Workplace readiness training to develop social skills and independent living
      • Instruction in self-advocacy
    • WINTAC Promising Practices and Literature Review on Pre-Employment Transition Services
      • Features promising practices and full-text links to the literature related to each of the required Pre-ETS services

Logo - Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Youth with Disabilities (Y-TAC)

Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Youth with Disabilities (Y-TAC)

The Y-TAC provides TA to state VR agencies to improve services to and outcomes of students with disabilities who:

  • Are in school and not receiving services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA); and
  • Youth with disabilities who are no longer in school and are not employed, including dropouts, youth in the juvenile justice system, homeless youth and youth in foster care.

The following Y-TAC resources offer information related to customized employment.

  • The Essential Elements of Customized Employment for Universal Application (co-developed with WINTAC)
    • Customized employment focuses on the individual’s strengths, needs, interests and abilities and the employer’s business needs, and is carried out through flexible strategies.
    • Guide for the universal application of these elements across service delivery and training providers.
  • Recommendations for Customized Employment Practices (co-developed with WINTAC)
    • Outlines practices that subject matter experts recommend for effectively practicing CE. This document focuses on practices related to Customized Job Development. This document can also inform training on and evaluation of CE.

Logo - National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)

National Technical Assistance Center on Transition (NTACT)

NTACT helps state and local education agencies, state VR agencies and other VR service providers to implement evidence–based and promising practices to ensure students with disabilities stay in school, progress in school, and graduate with knowledge, skills, and supports needed to succeed in postsecondary education and employment.


Do you want to keep up-to-date with new VR resources as they are added to the NCRTM? Follow them on Twitter @RSA_NCRTM and subscribe to their monthly New from NCRTM newsletter.


Blog articles provide insights on the activities of schools, programs, grantees, and other education stakeholders to promote continuing discussion of educational innovation and reform. Articles do not endorse any educational product, service, curriculum or pedagogy.