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.
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.
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:
No State Minimum Wage
This makes it more difficult to prepare consumers for: personal finance management, job readiness, and transition to integrated employment.
Lowest in New Hampshire: Coos, Carroll, and Grafton Counties
4th lowest in New Hampshire: Stratford County
National average = 6.3%
People without disabilities = 6.1%
STUDENTS IN SPECIAL EDUCATION
National average = 8.7%
Low income students are disproportionately represented in the special education population.
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 New Hampshire, 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.
- 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 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:
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
For further information about the New Hampshire community activities: