Learn about the  National Clearinghouse of Rehabilitation Training Materials (NCRTM) sponsored by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA).


Rick Sizemore Twitter @Rickwwrc or email, rick.sizemore@WWRC.virginia.gov

Anne Hudlow’s email is Annehudlow@comcast.net

Cherie Takemoto, PhD Project Director/Senior Research Analyst ctakemoto@neweditions.net Phone: 703-356-8035 ext. 107

National Clearinghouse for Rehabilitation Training Materials on twitter @RSA_NCRTM


Speaker 1: VR Workforce Studio.

announcer: VR Workforce Studio. Inspiration, education, and affirmation at work. Welcome to another episode as we open up the VR Workforce Studio to champion the courageous stories of vocational rehabilitation from individuals with disabilities.

Speaker 3: Listen to our amazing stories about the disability employment journey.

Speaker 4: Heroes describe our pathway through the challenge.

Speaker 5: And fear to joy and share in our inspiration as we overcome disabilities and go to work.

Speaker 6: We’ll also meet the champions of business and industry who hire individuals with disabilities.

Speaker 12: I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that some of our best employees have disabilities.

announcer: And hear from the VR professionals who have dedicated their lives and careers to helping individuals with disabilities go to work.

Now here’s the host of the VR Workforce Studio, Rick Sizemore,

Speaker 7: Begin countdown.

announcer: … along with the Executive Director of the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center Foundation, Anne Hudlow.

Speaker 7: Four, three, two, one.

Rick Sizemore: Welcome to another episode of the VR Workforce Studio podcast. Have you ever wondered how some people always seem to know about the latest research, the news, the links, and the resources about vocational rehabilitation? There is just so much information out there that it can be overwhelming. But our guest today is going to connect you with one of the sources every person with a disability, every vocational rehabilitation professional, and every employer should know about when it comes to vocational rehabilitation.

Cherie Takemoto with the National Clearinghouse for Rehabilitation Training Materials is our guest today, and here to take us on a tour of the clearinghouse. Cherie, welcome to the podcast.

Cherie Takemoto: Thank you.

Anne Hudlow: Cherie, thank you so much for taking the time to be here today.

Cherie Takemoto: My pleasure.

Rick Sizemore: Cherie, tell us about the National Clearinghouse.

Cherie Takemoto: The National Clearinghouse on Rehabilitation Training Materials, which we call the NCRTM, is only the best place you can go to find anything having to do with employing people with disabilities. It has rehab information, it has how to get person a job, it has, even, if you’re looking for a job, where to find the good places. But most importantly, we’re tied to the Rehabilitation Services Administration, who funds this NCRTM and their technical assistance centers. So it’s a place to go for reliable, trusted, information that you can actually use to make a difference for a person with disabilities.

Rick Sizemore: It’s a great resource.

Anne Hudlow: Yeah.

Rick Sizemore: I’ve become so excited about it. Traveling in the car the other day, two of my colleagues said, “Have you been to the clearinghouse, because it’s an absolute great resource online. And you can get whatever you need.” So that’s exciting for everyone in the rehab community to have access to it.

Cherie Takemoto: That makes me very happy to hear that. And I’m sure that the folks who sponsor this, the Rehabilitation Services Administration, or we call that RSA in acronymnville,  of the US Department of Education, funds this. And the company I work for, New Editions Consulting, has the contract to operate it.

Rick Sizemore: That is awesome.

Anne Hudlow: That is great.

Rick Sizemore: Let’s talk about who the National Clearinghouse is for.

Cherie Takemoto: The NCRTM is for vocational rehabilitation agencies, for folks who are vocational rehabilitation counselors, or anyone who’s working in the field and providing services to people with disabilities. It’s for employers who want to know a little bit more about if they might interested in hiring a person with disability or don’t know how to provide accommodations. It’s for, believe it or not, rehabilitation educators, people who are preparing people to work in the field. For interpreter educators, or folks who are trying to learn how to do interpreting. There’s lots of practice videos for people to learn how to sign. As well as of course people with disabilities, their families, or anyone who works with people with disabilities or likes people with disabilities.

Rick Sizemore: See, I think this is awesome.

Anne Hudlow: Yeah.

Rick Sizemore: It’s the place to go.

Anne Hudlow: All encompassing. Absolutely.

Rick Sizemore: If you’re into voc rehab, this is the place to go.

Cherie Takemoto: Yes, if you’re a nerd like you, Rick, this is the place to go.

Anne Hudlow: He reads it before bed. He visits it before bed.

Cherie, how has the NCRTM changed over time?

Cherie Takemoto: Well, believe it or not, the NCRTM has been around since 1961 where it was a physical library and a real repository where funded RSA projects went to live forever. And then over the years RSA has funded the NCRTM as a contract. So those materials went from place to place for a while.

Rick Sizemore: I can’t imagine the labor of moving

Anne Hudlow: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rick Sizemore: … all that stuff from place

Cherie Takemoto: Yes.

Rick Sizemore: … to place.

Cherie Takemoto: Yes. And more recently they’ve digitized many of the materials, but many are not accessible for people with disabilities. RSA decided that they wanted more control, or more … an ability to form how technical assistance and training is provided to the world, and decided to bring it in under a contract. New Editions got that contract. We worked with R-

Rick Sizemore: And fortunately hired you.

Cherie Takemoto: Oh, unfortunately, yes.

Rick Sizemore: No. Fortunately they hired the one and only Cherie Takemoto.

Cherie Takemoto: Because I really … my whole life has been about trying to get information out that people can use to make a difference for people with disabilities.

Rick Sizemore: Total transparency, Cherie and I’ve known each other for a long time.

Cherie Takemoto: Yes.

Rick Sizemore: She was a state rehab council member. She’s been in the voc rehab community as an active person and an active participant of what’s going on for a long time. I’m really excited that you’re the person they selected to head this up.

Cherie Takemoto: Well, thank you, Rick.

Rick Sizemore: Your passion has always been about sharing research and information and helping the VR community be more successful. To me, it’s the perfect job for you.

Cherie Takemoto: Yes. It’s out there and we want people to use the information.

To do that, we moved from Dewey Decimal. Everything was under the old Dewey Decimal System.

Anne Hudlow: Dewey Decimal. Wow.

Rick Sizemore: I’m getting cold chills remembering high school.

Anne Hudlow: My kids would be like, “Dewey Decimal, rotary phones, what?”

Rick Sizemore: How did we decide?

Cherie Takemoto: Who’s that?

Rick Sizemore: Let this great woman talk about her program.

Anne Hudlow: I’m sorry.

Cherie Takemoto: Is there someone named Dewey Decimal out there?

So we moved from that to get subject matter experts to say, “What are the great search categories? What would people look for?” And so for the new materials we have people indexed, when they submit something, according to the terms that are relevant in the field. So is it employer, or is it business? Is it … what are the terms that people are using, and we code the materials according to that. So it’s more intuitive to find information in there.

Rick Sizemore: And I’m going to offer a testimony on this. I go to the clearinghouse frequently, and when you look at those categories they’re so sensible and so logical and so user-friendly, again, even a guy like me can go there and just get excited about all the various categories. I think the community is going to react so positively to the way this thing is structured.

Cherie Takemoto: Thank you, Rick.

Anne Hudlow: So you said that the NCRTM has been around since 1961. If folks are looking for older materials how can they get those?

Cherie Takemoto: When you do a search it’ll automatically search for the most recent materials since we’ve had this contract in 2014, so in the last 10 years or so … in the last few years. So that’s all current information. But if you want something from, say, 1990 forward, you can just click on “Archive” and find some of those materials. Unfortunately, not all those materials are accessible. If you need some help accessing it you can let us know and we’ll see what we can do to find you something accessible. And then anything that’s older than that, that was digitized, we have on a hard drive and we can search for things that use some of the old terms like “the retarded” instead of people with developmental disabilities or intellectual disabilities and some of the old kinds of stuff. But people might be interested in it for historical reasons.

Rick Sizemore: That archive is valuable for the historic reasons. A van ride from here to Greenville, South Carolina, we were all recently at CSAVR, the topic of the clearinghouse came up, and there’s some users in the van who are actively using the clearinghouse. There was also a person who had not visited it yet, and was reflecting on the old days when this was a hard copy repository that was moved from place to place, and they said, “Whatever happened to it?” So here’s what you’ll be excited about … I’ll tell you, David [Leon 00:08:56], friend of ours and a colleague, he said, “It’s been transformed to something magical and useful.”

So the people who are visiting it are excited, and I think they’re some of your best marketers out there sharing the story of what this thing is now. And that’s pretty exciting.

Cherie Takemoto: Thank you!

Rick Sizemore: Why should someone access the clearinghouse instead of doing what most people do, which is just go to Google.

Cherie Takemoto: Anyone who just goes to Google gets a lot of ads. They don’t know whether the information is reliable, whether they can trust what’s there, whether it’s someone trying to sell something. Several clicks later you get to the check-out and we find out whatever it is $179.

Rick Sizemore: Shocker.

Cherie Takemoto: So I tried, say, Googling “rehabilitation training materials,” and only came up with 180 million hits. Of those hits, there was a couple of things from the NCRTM. Great. So I tried … Let’s try “vocational rehabilitation.” What am I going to find there? And that was narrowed down quite a bit, down to about 4.8 million, but none of them were appropriate for someone who was trying to find information to get someone with disabilities employed.

Rick Sizemore: You’re just lost in all the information.

Cherie Takemoto: Yep. Exactly. So what we have in the clearinghouse has been reviewed as something that’s valuable to the field, and has been put together in a relatively decent manner. And above all that it’s accessible.

Anne Hudlow: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rick Sizemore: Wow. That is fantastic.

Anne Hudlow: At WWRC we do quite a bit to make sure that we provide accommodations for people with disabilities. Can you tell us more about how the clearinghouse is accessible.

Cherie Takemoto: RSA, first of all, understands its population has folks with all kinds of disabilities and wants to make sure that anything that’s developed with federal funding, that they’ve funded, is accessible. Unfortunately, that’s not the case everywhere. And so we just want to make sure that for folks who visit us, who want to use something for their populations and wants to make sure that what they have is accessible, that they can get accessible materials there.

If you don’t even know what accessibility is or what it takes, we have folks who can provide technical assistance for you. We can have folks who can tell you whether or not something is accessible. And then, recently, we also have on the top of our bar, we have “Accessibility Resources” that were developed through a community of practice that we had earlier this year. From there, you can get little snippets, because people don’t have a lot of time, little snippets on, okay, how do I make a Word document accessible? How do I start to make accessible? Or if I get something and someone says it’s not accessible, what are some easy things that I can do to make it accessible? And it’s pretty … Especially in Microsoft products, it is much easier to make things accessible than it has been in the past. But we have little brief videos.

And then if you want to make sure it’s accessible for the federal government we have federal resources and other brief tutorials for folks like me, who need to see it happen and they can’t read the instructions.

Anne Hudlow: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Rick Sizemore: Let me put a plug in as a user. When you go there and you decide to upload something, you have an option to identify it as 508 compliant. And if that’s a challenge for you or you’re not sure, there’s all kinds of information. Or if you’re not 508 compliant and you want some assistance with that, links and information are really helpful to users. And I think that’s a great option for the clearinghouse.

Cherie Takemoto: When we developed it, the choices, is it accessible? Yes, no, and not sure. Because we understand that not everybody understands whether or not something’s accessible. And then we’ll give you some help on that.

Anne Hudlow: Right.

Rick Sizemore: There are several different ways that visitors use the clearinghouse and their products. There’s several kinds of users. One that comes to mind is a state rehabilitation leadership.

Cherie Takemoto: You work for a state rehabilitation agency.

Rick Sizemore: I do indeed.

Cherie Takemoto: And there are a lot of rules and regulations that are constantly changing, and this is a place to get the official information, because we’re so closely tied to RSA and the technical assistance centers. So the most reliable and up-to-date information, not only for what the new voc rehab law Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, but also how to code what it is that you’re doing correctly, and what RSA is going to do when they come in and do monitoring. So those kinds of practical but very specific information for you to use.

Rick Sizemore: So we’re talking about some of the different kinds of people who use the clearinghouse.

Anne Hudlow: Cherie, let’s continue on that. Vocational rehabilitation counselors, how would they use it?

Cherie Takemoto: As you know, it’s difficult to get some people with disabilities employed. And so for folks who are practicing the field, they can find all kinds of new and exciting ways that actually have some foundation in evaluation in the literature, in the current way that RSA is promoting to do things. You can find out about the latest and greatest and how to employ people with disabilities.

Rick Sizemore: At CSAVR, Steve Wooderson talked about Vision 2020 and that first principle in Vision 2020. Mission driven and dual customer focused. Meaning, we’re also focusing on the needs of business and industry and those also important employers that are at the end of this process of getting people ready to go to work. How would you see employers being able to benefit from accessing the clearinghouse?

Cherie Takemoto: On the voc rehab counselor side, we hear about how difficult it is for people to become employed. But what we hear from business is that they want to employ people with disabilities.

Rick Sizemore: Absolutely.

Cherie Takemoto: Sometimes they don’t know where to go to find people, how many employment job development folks can actually vet folks before they get hired, can actually support them in the workplace, the tax benefits, the bottom line benefits of hiring people with disabilities. And also sometimes they’re afraid and they don’t know how to accommodate a person with a disability. So they can find a lot of that information in the clearinghouse.

Rick Sizemore: Yep. And I’m just thinking about the business development manager, or that VR representative who’s engaging business. There might be a lot material here that they’d want to share with an employer who’d never even thought about this kind of stuff.

Cherie Takemoto: Yes, exactly. Recently, Joe Ashley from Virginia Department of Aging and Rehabilitation Services was on a webinar reacting to some new approaches to employment. Customized employment, career pathways, understanding that you don’t just get a minimum wage job, you’re looking at a career. It’s not good enough in today’s world to just get a person employed. We have to think about how are they going to live in a job that they love, and be able to work their way up.

Rick Sizemore: Absolutely. He calls it, “Give ’em the edge.”

Anne Hudlow: Right.

Cherie Takemoto: Yes.

Anne Hudlow: And you know, think about this. Everybody has to feel their way through a career, or a job. There’s a lot of learning curve to it. And so this just seems like a fabulous tool to be able to support … And talking about that, people with disabilities themselves need that support. I’m assuming that families and friends can also use this?

Cherie Takemoto: Yes.

Anne Hudlow: Okay.

Cherie Takemoto: As Rick knows, I’m a parent of a young man with disabilities, and I peruse the new materials coming on and devour the new materials coming up so that I can find out what should my son be getting. Or what tools are there to plan for life after high school, after college, or whatever. I want to know what the latest and greatest is out there, and people like my son, Pete, want to know what their rights are. And if they’re not getting the services that they think that they should get, what they can do to find someone who can get him what he needs.

Rick Sizemore: That is just awesome. So many of the people who listen to these podcasts from VR Workforce Studio are family members, because they want to feel that inspiration. They want to hear the story where an individual with a disability went to work. They want to know it’s possible so we sort of share in that mission of helping families with information, resources, and options.

Cherie Takemoto: Yes.

Rick Sizemore: That’s exciting to hear about that.

Another group of people, I would imagine, who could benefit from this, sign language interpreters?

Cherie Takemoto: Oh, it is amazing the wealth of information that’s in the clearinghouse. There are videos on how to … that you can practice signing. So it doesn’t have the captioning, because you

Rick Sizemore: I need one.

Cherie Takemoto: … have to know how to sign this. For health interpreting, legal interpreting, behavioral health interpreting, deaf, blind, folks who cannot see what you’re signing. So there’s information on that. That is one area that the clearinghouse has that you really can’t find anywhere else.

Rick Sizemore: What a great option.

I want to talk about sing language interpreting. In one of our episodes we had a young woman in who actually had some speech, but she was hard of hearing. We did an episode with her. We told the story of business engagement, and her journey of vocational rehabilitation into the healthcare field. And what we learned is that we had the option to … and many of our episodes are uploaded to the clearinghouse.

But we ask, because we’re excited about this episode, for a peer review. And we were able to gain some tremendous insights from that peer review process that actually has helped us as we approach future episodes with someone who’s deaf or hard of hearing. And we’re incorporating a sign language interpreter. So can you talk about the peer review process and how people might access that, and use it, and benefit from it.

Cherie Takemoto: Okay. For the peer review process that’s a relatively new thing that we’re doing. When someone submits something and they ask for peer review, we look for the topics that they clicked on to match them with three people that are expert in those general topics, and get a diversity of perspectives speaking to the relevance, the quality, and the usefulness of the materials, and whether or not they would recommend it.

If you’re recommended for a peer review, it’s great, because you can tell the world that this has been peer reviewed. So far, there’s only been one, because this is a relatively new process, that has been accepted. But even if you’re not accepted you get great feedback as to how this might be relevant. Or you might find that what you’re doing is valuable, but not necessarily relevant to the broader community as a training material. So it might be in a format that they don’t see as training.

We also have the same thing for student submissions. So if you’re a student learning the field, and you’ve done a poster session, or you’ve done a paper, or a study that you want uploaded, we have peer reviewers who will look at that and give you outside feedback about how they view whatever it is that you’ve done. And then, again, if it’s peer reviewed, the threshold is not as high as for, say, the journals, but it’s a nice way for practitioners, for students, for others to get their great materials out there.

Rick Sizemore: It is a wonderful option, because in the case that I was talking about earlier was one of our most popular episodes from a business engagement and, what we call, the inspiration showcase standpoint. And yet, there were some things we missed in responding to those specific reviewer points around interpreting. And it was extremely valuable to help us continue improving the way we interview, and the way we deliver content. Because let’s face it, people coming to the clearinghouse are the people we’re serving and the people we want to provide good, positive, useful content to. Again, I can’t say enough about the importance of accessing that peer review process. Exciting opportunity for us.

Cherie Takemoto: And the reviewers highly ranked the relevance of what you did with that story, and also how it’s valuable to the world out there to understand that people with deafness, of course, can work in the field.

Rick Sizemore: Absolutely. Thank you for that.

Is there anything else new and exciting going on at the clearinghouse?

Cherie Takemoto: Yes. As a matter of fact, we are right now in the process of putting together a community of practice for practitioners who are working with people who they’re trying to get jobs for. As you know, because you’re here, people love being here learning new skills, but sometimes you find them what you think is a perfect job and they don’t want to work. Not because they don’t want to work, but because they’re afraid of losing the benefits that they rely on financially. The Medicaid, or Medicare-

Rick Sizemore: It’s a big challenge.

Cherie Takemoto: Yeah. If you can’t get dressed in the morning to get to work, or you rely on the transportation systems that are income generated, then how are you going to get to work? How are you going to get dressed? How are you going to do the things that require accommodations? So that fear of being out in the world without your public benefits is scarier than the chance that you can do something that you love to do.

We want to make sure that counselors understand, not only why some people might want to work, or the challenges to make sure that if this person is relying on those public benefits, how they can keep those benefits and work. But we want everyone to know that working is not only preferable, it’s the best. And you know this time and time again at Woodrow Wilson.

Rick Sizemore: Absolutely.

Anne Hudlow: You know, most of us have busy lives and not have time to keep up with all the latest and greatest stuff out there. Can you tell us what the clearinghouse is doing to keep people involved and engaged?

Cherie Takemoto: The ways that people can interact with the clearinghouse?

Anne Hudlow: Right.

Cherie Takemoto: Yes. It depends on, of course, the audience. If you have a specific audience you want to ask about go ahead. But if you want to know what the current thinking is in the rehab field, of course, the clearinghouse is the place to go. If you’re an employer, and you want to know what types of disabilities can be employed, or … I heard about this Microsoft internship for people with autism. And maybe I might want to hire people with autism. How do I find out more about those kinds of programs. Or I’m doing this because I’m hiring my nephew, but are there any benefits that I can get to help me support the accommodations that he needs. Those are places that businesses who don’t know a lot about disability and the disability programs can go.

We talked about how if you’re a parent or a person with disability it’s a great source to find out what that information is and what’s out there that might not look the same as what you’re receiving right now. For educators, it’s a great way to find current materials that are based on the current rehab act, or the [WEOA 00:25:16], to teach your students. Because in the past, the idea of people with disabilities who can be employed, who can get jobs, who can be successful was much different. The whole push is away from those sheltered workshops

Rick Sizemore: Absolutely.

Cherie Takemoto: … and enclaves. You need the clearinghouse to find out what’s

Rick Sizemore: What’s going on.

Anne Hudlow: Right.

Cherie Takemoto: … going on right now.

Anne Hudlow: And can you tell us about the monthly newsletter that you all have started?

Cherie Takemoto: Oh, yes. We’re just finishing the December issue, which is the year in review. So that’s going to highlight some of the things that came in over the years, some of the things we’ve featured. There’ll be something that … a question came up about, “I have new rehabilitation counselor. Where should I go first to onboard  that person?” And we’ll talk a little bit about the upcoming community of practice. But if you go to our website, ncrtm.ed.gov, and check out the right corner box, you can see previous newsletters, you can subscribe to our newsletter, and it’s the best way to keep up. That and we also have Twitter account that we’re authorized by the Department of Education and RSA to use that. So we often also hashtag your podcast.

Anne Hudlow: Oh, great.

Rick Sizemore: Yeah. And we’ll include all of those web links, and of course all of the contact information for Cherie and the clearinghouse in our show notes at vrworkforcestudio.com.

We spent the whole podcast talking about these advantages and the wonderful options through the clearinghouse. One last question, why should people care about it?

Cherie Takemoto: This is the only place you can go to get the breadth of information. You may know about one website that has this little piece, another website that has this other little piece. If you’re looking for information, this is a great place to go. If you’re developing some sort of training and want to see what’s already out there, you may find that someone has already developed something that all you have to do is adapt for your purposes, so you’re going to save a lot of time developing your own training. And if you go to the clearinghouse and you see that nothing there is as good as something that you’ve developed, please submit it.

Rick Sizemore: Send it in.

Cherie Takemoto: Send it in. Send it for peer review. We’ll highlight it in the newsletter. So share with the rehabilitation community your great stuff.

Rick Sizemore: This has been an unbelievably exciting and informative podcast. Cherie Takemoto, National Clearinghouse. You are going to be one of our great resources going into the future, because in this podcast we talk about disabilities, disability employment. So we hope to constantly reference these materials through our podcast and in our show notes, and we hope you’ll join us on several future episodes as a guest. And maybe keep us updated on what’s going on with the latest and greatest.

Cherie Takemoto: Thank you.

Anne Hudlow: Cherie, thank you so much for taking the time to be here today.

Cherie Takemoto: My pleasure.

Rick Sizemore: Of course all the links that we’ve talked about on today’s show will be in the show notes at vrworkforcestudio.com. Please join us for a new episode on the 15th of every month at VR Workforce Studio in iTunes or on your favorite pod catcher. Until next time, I’m Rick Sizemore.

Speaker 11: VR Workforce Studio. Inspiration, education, and affirmation at work. The Workforce and Disability Employment podcast from the Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center, a division of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

The VR Workforce Studio is published by our foundation at www.rcf.org and is available in iTunes and at vrworkforcestudio.com.

announcer: Support for the foundation’s production and distribution of the VR Workforce Studio comes from CVS Health, Dominion Energy, The Virginia Manufacturers Association, the Jessie Ball DuPont Fund, and AmeriCare Plus.