About Us

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The VCU National Training and Data Center is a partnership between VCU and five collaborating organizations. It is funded through a five year contract from the Office of Research, Demonstration and Employment Supports (ORDES) in the Social Security Administration. Through this contract, the NTDC will continue to provide Community Work Incentives Coordinator (CWIC) initial training and certification, technical assistance, and professional development activities as we have provided in support of the WIPA projects since 2007.

The WIPA initiative is a key component of Social Security's strategy to promote employment among their disability beneficiaries and reduce dependence on SSI and Title II cash benefits. In August, 2015, Social Security awarded new cooperative agreements to 83 local WIPA projects to provide individualized work incentive counseling services to beneficiaries in all 50 states and territories. In the new WIPA model, Social Security has made several major changes designed to improve beneficiary outcomes, to achieve more accurate, high quality and consistent service results, and maximize program efficiency. Key improvements include:

  1. An enhanced emphasis on serving beneficiaries who are currently employed full or part-time at the time of service;
  2. An expanded commitment to program efficiency and automation, including the reliance on distance-based service delivery models;
  3. A new requirement for ongoing professional development using supplemental trainings and associated competency assessments that will lead to Continuing Certification Credits for participants; and
  4. An expanded focus on youth in transition, veterans, and other underserved beneficiary populations.

WIPA Training and Technical Assistance

We have made changes to our training and technical assistance activities to enable WIPA projects to address these new priorities. We have redesigned our CWIC competencies and the WIPA National Training Curriculum and will continue to operate the rigorous CWIC training and certification program to ensure that CWICs have all the training and support they need to fill their key roles.

We are providing intensive technical assistance to individual CWICs, conducting group technical assistance sessions, and making site visits to WIPA projects to make certain CWICs are able to implement the new service priorities and deliver distance bases counseling services. We have launched a new Continuing Certification Credit system that CWICs and Program Managers can use to track their progress in completing required training and professional development activities for continuing certification.

WIPA Data Collection and Reporting Center

Our new contract expands our prior responsibilities to include the operation of the WIPA Data Center. These key duties include: (1) operate the data storage and security center; (2) manage and support the CWIC laptops; and (3) operate the Efforts to Outcomes (ETO) Help Desk.

The WIPA projects will continue to use the ETO software for data collection and reporting. VCU will continue to conduct supplemental trainings and provide technical assistance to CWICs as they use the ETO software to accurately reflect their services on behalf of beneficiaries.

NTDC Partner Organizations

We have five partner organizations that will be involved in many different NTDC activities:

  1. Griffin-Hammis Associates will continue to share their expertise and provide initial and supplemental trainings and deliver technical assistance to a WIPA projects in Social Security Regions 8 and 10.
  2. The Cornell University Employment and Disability Institute will also provide technical assistance to multiple projects in Social Security Region 1 and lead NTDC efforts to develop new tools for WIPA projects.
  3. AMAC Accessibility Solutions and Research Center at Georgia Tech University will assist us in making certain that all WIPA staff members and other partners are able to access and benefit from NTDC activities. AMAC will assist with accessibility testing of NTDC training formats and website functions.
  4. Abt Associates will lead the NTDC's data storage and security activities, support all the activities associated with the provision of laptop computers for WIPA staff, and operate the ETO Technical Help Desk.
  5. Social Solutions Global will continue to provide the Efforts to Outcomes software platform that supports WIPA data collection and reporting.

We welcome the opportunity to continue our partnership with Social Security, the WIPA projects, the Help Line, and other community partners committed to delivering high quality services to beneficiaries as they pursue their employment goals and seek financial independence.