The WINTAC is led by the Interwork Institute at San Diego State University and consists of the following partners:
- The National Disability Institute and their LEAD Center
- The George Washington University’s Center for Rehabilitation Counseling Research and Education
- The University of Arkansas CURRENTS
- The Career Index
- The Council of State Administrators of Vocational Rehabilitation
- Syracuse University’s Burton Blatt Institute
The WINTAC provides training and universal, targeted and intensive technical assistance (TA) to State Vocational Rehabilitation Agencies (SVRAs) and related agencies and rehabilitation professionals and service providers across topic areas and through pilot projects to help them develop the skills and processes needed to meet the requirements of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA).
Topic areas and pilot projects
- Pre-employment Transition Services
- Implementation of Section 511 Requirements
- Resources and Strategies for Competitive Integrated Employment
- Integration of State VR into the Workforce Development System
- Transition to the Common Performance Accountability System
- Business Engagement and Employer Supports
- The Career Index Plus – Labor Market Information
- Apprenticeships and Customized Training
- Workforce Innovation Pilot Projects (WIPPS) on The Career Index Plus, SARA and Peer Mentoring.
The role of Policyworks in the WINTAC team includes serving as WINTAC liaisons to coordinate and facilitate intensive technical assistance to SVRAs. Our team has worked with other WINTAC partners on Integration of the State VR into the workforce development system and with the Pre-Employment Transition Services (Pre-ETS) team to develop peer mentoring pilot projects providing targeted technical assistance to 12 state VR agencies and Intensive TA to 6 state peer mentoring pilot projects.
As part of the WINTAC project, the WINTAC subject matter expert Pre-ETS project team reviewed the Peer MentoringWorks Suite of training and certification modules to ensure their alignment with the required activities to include instruction in self-advocacy with peer mentors.
The Peer Mentoring projects include the development and use of peer mentoring networks for young people with disabilities to help them transition from secondary education to postsecondary education and employment through the power and influence of high expectations, self-determination and the development of self-advocacy skills.
Research has shown that mentors, especially peer mentors, can positively affect the movement of individuals with disabilities towards self-sufficiency through the establishment of high expectations, support and empowerment. PolicyWorks through the WINTAC has work closely with VR agencies to establish pilot sites where individuals with disabilities that have been successful in their postsecondary education and/or career goals can act as mentors to other consumers of the VR program.
The peer mentor projects demonstrate a replicable model that can be utilized by State VR Agencies and that can significantly contribute to improvements in services and outcomes for young people with significant disabilities served by the Workforce Development System. Currently Peer Mentoring Pilots are operational in Florida, Mississippi and Alaska and are in design and pre-implementation phase in additional states through the support of WINTAC.
As part of the Technical Assistance provided to states initiating peer mentor pilot projects, PolicyWorks’ suite of peer mentor and peer coordinator training modules have been used to certify and train pilot service providers. The Peer MentoringWorks Suite and PolicyWorks’ peer mentor program subject matter consultation is available through a WINTAC Intensive Technical Assistance Agreement.