Louisiana was chosen as a targeted community through the Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center: Targeted Communities (VR-TAC-TC) or Project E3. Project E3 partnered with State VR Agencies and local community partners to improve outreach and employment-related services to underserved people with disabilities in this community.
Louisiana is known for its rich diversity of people. It has more Native American tribes than any other southern state and is home to the descendants of a variety of settlers, including the French, Spanish, English, German, Acadians, West Indians, Africans, Irish and Italians, and now almost every nationality on earth. There has never been an official language in Louisiana. It is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are the local government’s equivalent to counties.
Energy, advanced manufacturing, commercial fishing, chemicals, and agriculture are all vital parts of the state’s economy.
The state-federal vocational rehabilitation system in Louisiana faced many challenges as it strove to serve people with significant disabilities and promote competitive integrated employment. Project E3 provided intensive technical assistance to two cities in the Louisiana:
Largest city in Louisiana
- Is a major US port
- Known for French and Spanish Creole architecture
- Hosts Mardi Gras and other celebrations and festivals
- Famous for its cuisine and jazz music
Devastated by Hurricane Katrina
- Was the largest parish in Louisiana before Hurricane Katrina
- After Hurricane Katrina was the 3rd largest parish
Capitol of Louisiana
- Second largest city in Louisiana
- Forms the parish seat of East Baton Rouge Parish
- The Port of Greater Baton Rouge is the tenth largest in the United States
Within the targeted communities, Project E3 focused on improving vocational rehabilitation service outcomes for these populations:
These populations were characterized as:
Primary Challenges for Targeted Populations
The combination of the challenges above and other factors created significant barriers for persons with disabilities living in Louisiana, including:
Key Strategies to Address Barriers
Following are some of the key strategies developed and implemented to address the targeted populations’ challenges and barriers to employment.
- HIV and Mental Health Training: Provided training, technical assistance, and capacity building for vocational rehabilitation and related professionals.
- Systems Approach to Placement: Evaluated the effect of training using a Systems Approach to Placement. This model identifies the job placement process in vocational rehabilitation as a system with a dynamic network of interconnecting elements.
- Counselor Motivational Interviewing Training: Provided opportunities for vocational rehabilitation counselors to access training on Motivational Interviewing. This evidence-based counseling method is used to help people resolve ambivalence and develop internal motivation to change behavior.
- Vocational Rehabilitation Client Outreach, Recruitment, and Retention: Louisiana Rehabilitation Services informed the targeted communities of the positive outcomes of vocational rehabilitation, employment, and independent living via the internet, a project website, and communities of practice.
- Follow-Up Case Management Services: Provided follow-up case management services to vocational rehabilitation participants. Examples of services include transportation to appointments and follow-up via telephone calls, texting, and e-mails.
Project E3 provided Lousiana’s state Vocational Rehabilitation agencies and their partners with the skills and competencies needed to effectively and efficiently address barriers to competitive integrated employment and community integration encountered by persons with disabilities in these regions.
Our specific goals included:
We will leverage promising practices, knowledge, and experience gained from this project to expand employment opportunities for individuals with disabilities from underserved and economically disadvantaged populations throughout Louisiana and across the United States.
For further information about the Louisiana community activities: