Integrating Customized Employment Strategies into the Vocational Rehabilitation System

Effectively integrating provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) into public Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) systems will require extensive effort at both the organizational and system levels. This webcast includes information on WIOA provisions that impact public VR systems plus strategies and tools for implementing these provisions in a manner that promotes quality and sustainability. Panel representatives will provide an overview of the implementation process from the VR perspective and from the perspective of the VR vendor/provider. The webcast will also include information on a customized employment certification process that has been developed to train community-based providers. The panel will provide insight into implementation challenges and lessons learned as a method to assist other states and communities in replicating the process.

View the Archive:

  1. This webcast originally aired on December 8, 2016, from 3:00 – 4:15 p.m. (ET) at this link: If YouTube is blocked on your computer, you may also view the archive at this link:

    Tips for Optimal Viewing:

    • To increase volume, turn up the volume on your computer and use the volume bar on bottom left side of the YouTube video window.
    • Captioning is available by selecting the "CC" option on the bottom right side of the video window. Click on "Options" to change the font, size, and color of the captions.
    • Additional tools on the bottom right side: “Settings" increase the video quality; "Theater mode" (default)/"Full screen.”

    Accessibility: Closed captioning will be available for this webcast. If you have other accessibility requests, please email

  2. Presentation Materials:

  3. Please complete an evaluation.

About the Presenters

Photo of Tammy Jorgensen Smith

Tammy Jorgensen Smith, PhD, CRC, has a master's degree in Rehabilitation Services from Florida State University and a Ph.D. in Counselor Education with a specialization in Leadership from Barry University. She has been a Certified Rehabilitation Counselor since 1999. Dr. Smith joined the University of South Florida in 2007 as a Research Assistant Professor with Florida Center for Inclusive Communities - a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities. Currently, Dr. Smith is a tenured Associate Professor in the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling Program and remains affiliated with the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities through federal research grants. Her research focuses on the development and implementation of innovative, customized employment (CE) models to promote full inclusion and self-determination for people with disabilities. Dr. Smith serves on the editorial board of two prestigious journals and has completed manuscript, grant and textbook reviews. She has published multiple peer-reviewed articles and presents her research at local, state, national, and international conferences. In 2014, she received the National APSE Research Award in recognition of her contributions to the field.

Photo of Wayne Olson

Wayne Olson is the Area Director for the Division of Vocational Rehabilitation in Central Florida. Wayne has been with Florida VR for 36 years, starting as a counselor in 1980. In 2011 Wayne and his team ran a pilot on the Discovery Process using Central Florida Contract Vendors. The results of this pilot ended up promoting Discovery as a statewide tool. Locally there are now 23 vendors providing Discovery services resulting in higher quality job placements for the most severely disabled consumers. Wayne continues to promote the use of Discovery as a tool for future implementation of Customized Employment in WIOA.

Photo of Jose Rivera

Jose Rivera is the Contract and Discovery Liaison for the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation, Area 3. During his tenure with Vocational Rehabilitation, he’s also worked as a Senior Counselor and VR Consultant. He participated in two Discovery pilots with Vocational Rehabilitation in 2009 and 2011, and has since been responsible for implementing and tracking the growth of the Discovery program in the Central Florida area. In addition, he provides continuous training and process improvement to Vocational Rehabilitation staff and contract providers in all aspects of the Discovery process.

Photo of Vanessa Rodriguez

Vanessa Rodriguez is the Vice President of The Diversity Initiative, Inc.- a Florida non-profit that promotes Diversity & Inclusion in the workforce by connecting Job Seekers with Disabilities that the agency prepares for employment with businesses in the community that have a need for their unique talents, skills and abilities. With over 10 years of experience as a Supported Employment Practitioner, Vanessa is skilled in identifying contributions candidates can make to the workplace, discovering conditions for their success and empowering job seekers in the employment process. As a result of Vanessa’s no-fee consultative services to program participants and businesses, she has facilitated hundreds of successful employment matches throughout the Greater Tampa Bay Area. In addition to assisting the business community realize the many benefits of hiring Individuals with Disabilities, Vanessa is skilled in comprehensive post-hire employment support services that promote long-term success for both the job seeker and organization.

Back to: KTDRR Webcasts - Webinar Series