Online Program

Project Career: Using Technology to help Students with TBI transition from College to Employment

Monday, November 2, 2015

Eileen Elias, MED, Disability Service Center, JBS International Inc., North Bethesda, MD

For individuals with TBI, cognitive impairments, such as memory deficits often lead to barriers in gaining and maintaining employment. Even though assistive technology can help individuals compensate for cognitive impairments, and vocational rehabilitation can enhance employment outcomes, practices from these fields have not been merged to support individuals with TBI transitioning from undergraduate settings to employment.


To close this gap, Kent State University, West Virginia University, Boston University, and JBS International, developed a 5-year program merging assistive technology and vocational rehabilitation best practices to support a minimum of 150 Veteran and civilian postsecondary students with TBI transition to employment.



iPads are used to provide supports and services. Supports and services include cognitive support through Apps, mentoring, case management, internship placement and follow-along support. Program activities and qualitative and quantitative outcomes are assessed regularly to assess the impact on students' academic and career outcomes and to continuously improve the programs activities. 


In year 1, the project served 30 students with TBI at 11 universities. Two thirds of students were male; students range in age from 19-47; one third were Veterans. Students reported difficulty with memory, organization, frustration, fatigue, etc. due to their TBI. Half had difficulty performing tasks in previous jobs due to their TBI. As part of the program students have been matched with Apps using the Matching Person and Technology process, have received technology training, and educational and vocational support. A third of students have been matched with mentors. One third have secured internships or paid work.



The project helps students gain insight into their career choice, realize their strength, helps them be motivated and feel more secure and confident. Mentoring is seen as very beneficial. The strength of the project lays in the individualized support provided, including comprehensive assessments and tailored services and supports.

Learning Areas:

Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Program planning

Learning Objectives:
Describe barriers individuals with TBI – Veterans and civilians - face in academic and work settings due to cognitive impairments. Identify how assistive technology can help compensate for cognitive impairments. Explain the use of the Matching Person and Technology Model for effectively matching an individual with TBI to technology (e.g., Apps). Evaluate Project Career activities and identify those that can help support students with TBI transition from postsecondary academic settings to employment. Identify best practices and future research for improving the effective delivery of vocational rehabilitation services for students with TBI.

Keyword(s): Case Management, Technology

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been the project director for federally funded grants addressing individuals with brain injuries and co-occurring behavioral health disorders. As a policy leader, manager, analyst, planner, trainer, and educator I have developed community-based systems of care and primary care integration programs addressing behavioral health needs in primary health care and prevention of unnecessary institutionalization.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.