New Hampshire is a targeted community through Project E3

New Hampshire

New Hampshire 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.


Outline map of New Hampshire

New Hampshire has the highest percentage of timberland area in the country. It has some of the largest ski mountains on the East Coast so skiing, snowmobiling, and other winter sports are major tourist attractions.  The fall foliage and summer cottages along many lakes and the sea are also very popular attractions.  Tourism is an important part of the state’s economy.

New Hampshire is a primarily rural state, encompassing a total of 10 counties, seven of which are rural and characterized by higher poverty relative to the urban areas. The geographic isolation of New Hampshire’s rural communities poses significant challenges for persons with disabilities in achieving competitive, integrated, and lasting employment, as well as full community participation and integration.

Targeted Communities

The state-federal vocational rehabilitation system in New Hampshire 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 regions of the state:

  • Region 1: North Country (Coos, Carroll, and Grafton Counties)
  • Region 2: Stratford County
This map shows the Geographic Regions where Project E3 will provide technical assistance.

Key Information:


WAGE

No State Minimum Wage

This makes it more difficult to prepare consumers for: personal finance management, job readiness, and transition to integrated employment.

INCOME

Lowest in New Hampshire: Coos, Carroll, and Grafton Counties

 4th lowest in New Hampshire: Stratford County

RURAL POPULATION

0%

National average = 6.3%


POVERTY RATE

0%
people with disabilities

People without disabilities = 6.1%

STUDENTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION

0%

National average = 8.7%

Low income students are disproportionately represented in the special education population.

Targeted Populations

Within the targeted communities, Project E3 focused on improving vocational rehabilitation service outcomes for these populations:

  • Youth with cognitive and/or psychosocial/emotional disabilities between the ages of 14-24 who live in rural or remote communities.
  • Have applied and engaged with vocational rehabilitation services at lower rates, and attained lower competitive, integrated employment outcomes, than their peers
  • Includes youth who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and /or are involved in foster care
  • Adults with cognitive and/or psychosocial/emotional disabilities ages 25 or older who live in rural or remote communities.
  • Includes adults who receive SSI
  • Have applied and engaged with VR at lower rates, and attained lower competitive, integrated employment outcomes, than their peers

These populations were characterized as:

  • Consumers receiving federal financial assistance (TANF)
  • Persons with multiple disabilities
  • Residents of rural and remote communities
  • SSI and SSDI recipients
  • Transition-age youth (14-24)

Primary Challenges for Targeted Populations

The combination of the challenges above and other factors created significant barriers for persons with disabilities living in New Hampshire, including:

  • Geographic isolation
  • Impacts of poverty, including limited finances and resources, community support, and unstable family structures
  • Lack of transportation
  • Limited employment opportunities
  • Inadequate training and education options
  • Limited vocational rehabilitation services

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.

  • Poverty Awareness Training: Provided training and education to vocational rehabilitation and community partner staff on effective methods for engaging and supporting clients living in poverty.
  • Financial Literacy Training: Supported people to develop skills and knowledge about personal money management and helped them develop a plan for their financial future.
  • Benefits Counseling: Provided information on Social Security program rules and how employment impacts benefits.  The goal was to help people make informed choices about employment. 
  • Employability Skills Training: Provided training to increase participants’ ability to work with others and function socially.  Taught participants how to adjust to workplace expectations, including written and unwritten rules and social norms.
  • Customized Employment and Discovery Process:  Connected job seekers with unique interests and abilities to employers with an unmet business need. Customized jobs to fit the needs of both the employer and the job seeker.

Project Outcomes

Project E3 provided New Hampshire’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 for this project were to:

  • Increase the number and percentage of low-income individuals applying for vocational rehabilitation services by 10% in Years 1 and 2. Identify year 3 outcomes once technical assistance is underway.
  • Increase the number and percentage of Individual Plans for Employment developed and implemented with participants by 10% each year.
  • Increase the number and percentage of participants who successfully achieving their competitive, integrated employment goals by 10% each year.

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 New Hampshire and across the United States.

New Hampshire Overview PowerPoint Presentation

More Information

For further information about the New Hampshire community activities: