Tammy Jorgensen-Smith, PhD, CRC
Despite passage of significant federal legislation to assist individuals with disabilities to engage in competitive, integrated employment, the number of persons with disabilities who are jobless is estimated to be approximately 79%. Further, the literature clearly shows that persons with disabilities can be productive members of society with appropriate rehabilitation and customized job supports. Hence, sustainable training and technical assistance systems for community rehabilitation providers, individuals with complex disabilities, and their families/caregivers is a major research focus of Dr. Tammy Jorgensen Smith. Customized employment is a person-centered process that results in a job that is designed to assist an individual to gain employment by personalizing the employment relationship between a job seeker and an employer in a way that meets the needs of both. Learn more about the Customized Employment Competency Model here.
As faculty in the Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling Program and a formal affiliate of the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC), within the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences, Dr. Smith has worked extensively to better the lives of persons with disabilities in the State of Florida and nationally. Much of her research and grants have been centered on inclusion and supportive services (employment and education). Currently, Dr. Smith is Principal Investigator on two large federal grants. Achieving Competitive, Customized Employment for Specialized Services (ACCESS), funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), will test the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a customized employment intervention for adults with autism. The RSA Scholar Program is a renewable training grant funded through the Rehabilitation Service Administration. The grant provides scholarships to masters level students who enter the field of vocational rehabilitation. The primary aim is to increase the number of highly qualified individuals who work in the field and to train these scholars in customized employment strategies. Dr. Smith is also a faculty member of the FCIC Employment Team and contributes to successful completion of elements of the core funding grant that supports the University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD).
Dr. Jorgensen-Smith’s efforts on inclusion were recognized in 2014 with the receipt of the national Association for Persons Supporting Employment First (APSE) Research Award. She serves as Vice President of the Board for the Florida Chapter of APSE. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Rehabilitation and the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, both core journals in the field. In addition to her research and service activities, Dr. Smith teaches several courses through the Rehabilitation and Mental Health Counseling (RMHC) master’s degree program and she is a faculty member in the new Behavioral Healthcare doctoral program within the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.