Making a Difference: Showing the Impact

Spotlight on RAISE & RSA-PTIs, 2018

Greetings Parent Centers,

We are excited to share the 2018-2019 RAISE Center and RSA-PTI Spotlight. This booklet will provide you with an overview of the work that the centers have been performing over the past few years. We hope that you will all find plenty of resources that can assist your organizations in supporting families and youth during transition to adulthood. All of the information in this booklet is available and accessible at

Dr. Josie Badger, CRC, DHCE & Peg Kinsell
The National RAISE Center Co-Directors /



RAISE and RSA Parent Centers Grant

Even though the disability community makes up the largest minority group in the world, it also ranks as the minority group with the largest unemployment rate. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2017, only 18.7% of people with disabilities were employed in comparison to the 65.7% of their nondisabled counterparts.

Unemployment is detrimental to the individual and society. Without a job and income, people with disabilities require additional funds and services. Further, without an income, they are unable to pay back into society through taxes, buying power, or simply using their skills and knowledge through employment.

Although some disabilities themselves can play a role in the barrier of gaining employment, the larger issues often are a lack of information about rights, services, supports, and opportunities.

Purpose of the Grant

In 2014, the Office of Special Education and Rehabilitation Services funded one national technical assistance center (RAISE) and seven (7) Rehabilitative Services Administration Parent Training and Information Centers.  The purpose of these Centers is to effectively and efficiently address the issue of unemployment and independent living for people with disabilities through already established parent training and information centers. Through directly integrating transition information into these centers it is possible to address the transition barriers earlier, with families and youth by connecting centers.

RSA-PTIs’ materials are often shared within school districts for professional training.

RSA-PTIs have hundreds of collaborative partnerships, present to thousands at transition trainings, provide one-on-one assistance to hundreds more, and reach hundreds of thousands through newsletters, social media, and resource events.

What is RAISE?

RAISE (Resources for Access, Independence, Self-Advocacy and Employment) provides technical assistance and support to the RSA-PTIs that work with individuals with disabilities through transition from secondary school into competitive employment and independent living.

RAISE strategically employs face-to-face meetings, webinars, social media, and other web-based media, as well as one-to-one technical assistance strategies, to provide a variety of products and services.

What are the RSA PTIs?

The seven RSA-PTIs support the needs of youth with disabilities and their families during transition. These projects include: Federation for Children with Special Needs, New York State Transition Partners, Open Doors for Multicultural Families, Project Launch, REACH for Transition, Shift Transition Project, and STELLAR Project.

Each program has a different approach, set of objectives, and deliverables. RSA-PTIS have hundreds of collaborative partnerships, present to thousands at transition trainings, provide one-on-one assistance to hundreds more, and reach hundreds of thousands through newsletters, social media, and resource events.

RAISE and RSA PTI Centers Outcomes

Outcomes for Families & Youth:

  • Learning to navigate adult support systems.
  • Becoming “guides on the side” supporting their youth to build self-reliance and self-advocacy skills.
  • Youth are speaking up about their goals, strengths, interests, and the supports they need.
  • Parent centers are gaining expertise and resources for engaging youth and families in learning about transition and how to access needed support.
Getting There

A student needed support with independent travel, so the RSA-PTI conducted skills and needs assessments to help him understand the train and practice traveling around. He then attended a workshop where he helped other young people learn to map out routes.

The RSA-PTI helped him apply for a reduced fare travel card, which greatly increased his social network and independent living prospects. He applied for VR services, enrolled in the VR’s maintenance and retail training program, received job coaching, and is now learning to stock shelves and be part of a team within a professional environment.

He’s Hired!

A mother and her son, who has a significant disability, attended an RSA-PTI workshop series, telling others at the first session that the young man had been turned down for vocational rehabilitation (VR) services.  After attending the first two workshops, armed with the info they had gained, they decided to recontact VR.  The young man proudly walked into the third workshop announcing that he had a new job at Barnes and Noble with job coaching support!

This document was prepared with the help of our RSA-PTI directors and coordinators. Thank you to everyone for your help in creating this spotlight.

Dr. Josie Badger & Peg Kinsell  |  Co-Directors, National RAISE Center
Debra Jennings  |  Executive Co-Director, SPAN Parent Advocacy Network
Nancy Mader  |  Director, The LINK Center (MA)
Barbara Glassman, Jenny Hutkowski & Susan Barlow  |  Co-Directors, New York State Transition Partners (NY)
Simon Rojas  |  Youth/ADS Program Manager, Open Doors for Multicultural Families (WA)
Judy Moses & Sharman Davis Barrett  |  Co-Directors, Project Launch (MN, KY, OH, IN)
Dawn Monaco, Diana Autin & Carolyn Hayer  |  Co-Directors, REACH for Transition (CT, ME, NH, NJ, NYC, PA, VT)
Beth Schaffner  |  Director, Shift Transition Project (CO, AZ, UT, NM)
Debbie Loveall Stewart  |  Program Coordinator, Project STELLAR (MO)
Jessica Wilson  |  Director of Communications, National RAISE Center

Funded by Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA)
Parent Information and Training Program
Technical Assistance (TA) for Parent Training and Information Centers (PTIs)
CFDA Numbers: 84.235G & CFDA 84.235F