TACE Region 1: Peer Technical Assistance (TA)

Peer TA is what Region 1 TACE center calls "communities of practice". Staff members serving in specific VR roles frequently don't have other agency staff members in that same role. Peer TA enables these staff to form a supportive group of people with similar work responsibilities. Regular and ongoing Peer TA interaction (either in person or via conference call) allows for networking, resource sharing and problem solving. Relationships built over time allow for open and proactive communication about relevant activities, issues and challenges.

Follow this link: to find out more about "community of practice."

The following is a listing and brief description of each Peer TA group currently coordinated and hosted by TACE Region 1. Contact the coordinators for more information.

VR Business Enterprise Program (BEP)

This group includes directors of the Randolph-Sheppard programs in Region 1. The purpose is to provide information, discuss national issues facing the program, and to share best practices that have been shown to be effective in addressing some of these issues.

TACE Coordinator: Tom McCarthy, tmccarth@assumption.edu

New England VR Ticket-to-Work Specialists

These specialists in each state in Region 1 meet via conference call to share best practices regarding the management and implementation of the Ticket-to-Work program in order to maximize reimbursement to the states. A representative from the Social Security Administration is also a member of the group.

TACE Coordinator: Tom McCarthy, tmccarth@assumption.edu

Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission (MRC) Marketing & Employment Services Team

MRC has a distinct model for the development of employer relationships and delivery of job placement service to their VR clients. The Employment Services Team working statewide consists of a coordinator, 6 Employment Services Specialists and 15 Job Placement Specialists. They meet throughout the year for employment related training and to network and develop/implement planning to ensure continued success in placing VR clients.

TACE Coordinator: Mary Ann Bedick, mabedick@assumption.edu

New England State Coordinators for the Deaf (SCDs)

The New England SCD's meet to share and collaborate on best practices for service delivery to Deaf and Hard of Hearing (D/HOH) VR clients. One or more of the respective state Rehabilitation Counselors for the Deaf will also attend to share their perspective on regional issues and training needs. The SCD's share information via email on a regular basis and are planning a training forum in 2014 for New England VR staff and their partners working in the field of Deafness.

TACE Coordinator: Mary Ann Bedick, mabedick@assumption.edu

New England VR Transition Group

This group consists of one or more liaisons from each of the 10 VR agencies in New England and meets to share transition best practices. The meetings are held via tele-conference or webinar for training purposes, and a wealth of resources are exchanged among the members via email on a regular basis.

TACE Coordinator: Mary Ann Bedick, mabedick@assumption.edu

New England VR Training Coordinators

The training coordinators for the 10 New England VR agencies meet to address issues identified by the group as needing consultation and TA from their peers. Examples of topics for discussion: administration of the RSA In-service Training Grants; using effective training needs assessments; curriculum development and delivery to meet VR staff needs, approaches to new counselor training, best practices in on-line training and other distance education approaches, etc. The group has a web space for information and resources sharing.

TACE Coordinators: Tom McCarthy, tmccarth@assumption.edu & Cee Gandolfo, cecilia.gandolfo@umb.edu

New England VR Directors

The 10 New England VR Directors meet to focus on issues identified by the group as needing consultation and TA from their peers. Examples of topics addressed: how to develop and maintain an effective Quality Assurance System; how to get consumers engaged in the process quickly and sustain active participation in VR; how to ensure consistency of practice/equity of service statewide, etc. The group has a web space for information and resource sharing.

TACE Coordinators: Cee Gandolfo, cecilia.gandolfo@umb.edu & Tom McCarthy, tmccarth@assumption.edu

VR Statewide Employment Coordinators

This group includes managers of employment and job development services from each of the New England VR agencies. The purpose is to share information regarding the ongoing development and operation of job development systems in each of the Region 1 agencies; to identify innovative strategies that will enhance job development services and ultimately improve performance (increase in qualified employment candidates, quality improvements in job matching, increase in employment outcomes) and to generate new knowledge regarding specific factors, processes, and systems that cause successful job placement.

TACE Coordinator: Neil McNeil, neil.mcneil@umb.edu

VR Fiscal Administrators

This group includes managers within each of the New England VR agencies responsible for fiscal operations and systems. The purpose is to provide a forum for sharing information and ideas regarding fiscal operations of a VR agency and to develop strategies for problem solving.

TACE Coordinator: Neil McNeil, neil.mcneil@umb.edu

VR Community Rehabilitation Provider (CRP) Coordinators

The CRP Coordinators for the 10 New England VR agencies formed a group in 2013. This group comes together to share emerging issues relating to their work with providers. They share resources, policies and practices. This group provides support to one another as each person usually functions alone in their agency in this capacity.

TACE Coordinators: Cee Gandolfo, cecilia.gandolfo@umb.edu & Neil McNeil, neil.mcneil@umb.edu

New England Performance Evaluation & Quality Assurance “PEQA” Representatives

The New England PEQA VR agency representatives meet quarterly or as needed to share and collaborate on best practices to ensure quality services are implemented and delivered within their respective agencies.  They share information on the case review process,  reporting issues, agency surveys, the use of technology and data, and other topics related to evaluation and quality as they arise.  This PTA forum allows for ongoing communication, collaboration, and support.

TACE Coordinator: Mary Ann Bedick, mabedick@assumption.edu