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Supported Employment Training Project

a project of the Human Development Institute at the University of Kentucky

SE Core Training Series

The Supported Employment Core Training Series is Kentucky’s required training for those who bill any part of Supported Employment. The Series is offered six (6) times per year, is all virtual and there is no cost for registration. Anyone interested in Supported Employment is welcome to attend, either in part or in full, as a refresher.

Click here to Register


The SE Core Training Series is made up of 2 Sessions. Session 1 and Session 2 are both comprised of an online course and day(s) held live via Zoom.  You must take the sessions sequentially, and we require you to complete the online courses prior to the live Zoom day(s).

The Supported Employment Core Training Series consists of:

Session 1: Overview of Supported Employment Services in Kentucky

  • SETP 101 – Overview of Supported Employment online course
  • 3 days live via Zoom
  • Live Zoom days will be held 9:30 am – 3:30 pm ET / 8:30 am – 2:30 pm CT

Session 2:  Impact of Wages on Benefits

  • SETP 102 – Overview of the Impact of Wages on Benefits online course
  • Half day live via Zoom
  • Live Zoom day will be held 9:30 am – 1:00 pm ET / 8:30 am – 12:00 pm CT

Live Zoom Day(s)


Session 1 – May 15, 17, 19
Session 2 – June 21

Session 1 – July 17, 19, 21
Session 2 – August 16

Session 1 – September 11, 14, 15
Session 2 – October 11

Session 1 – November 6, 8, 9
Session 2 – December 7


Session 1 – January 22, 24, 26
Session 2 – February 21

Session 1 – March 18, 20, 22
Session 2 – April 10

Session 1 – May 6, 8, 10
Session 2 – June 5

Session Descriptions


Session 1 Online Course (SETP 101 – Overview of Supported Employment): Provides an overview of the service of supported employment in Kentucky, including OVR required documentation and expectations, and the nature of supported employment as opposed to other support services. Upon registration, participants are asked to indicate if they provide Traditional or IPS Supported Employment, and they will have the overview course specific to the service they provide.

Session 1 Live Zoom (3 days):
Day 1 – Person-Centered Job Selection/Career Profile
What’s a good job for this person, and how do we know? How might we discover personal gifts and talents previously unrecognized? What are fitting types of work formerly unconsidered? This day will focus on the process of: planning personalized approaches to discovery, writing a Person-Centered Employment Plan/Career Profile, and using what’s learned to get ready for job development.
Day 2 – Job Development
After we know the kind of job we’re seeking, then how do we find it? What are the varied ways that we
might represent the people we serve? What are the issues surrounding disclosure? We’ll explore:
networking, usage of business language, customized jobs, informational interviews, preparation for employer contacts, and more.
Day 3 – Job Analysis & Long-Term Supports
We’ll learn about taking the next step – moving from job development to job analysis: studying
workplace culture and learning about areas of particular importance, learning the typical employee instructional/support practices within a business, and defining the roles of the SE Employment Specialist in a way that honors typical business practices to the fullest extent possible. This information is then built upon to discuss effective ways to provide support over time, both on and off the job site.


Session 2 Online Course (SETP 102 – Overview of the Impact of Wages on Social Security Disability Benefits): Provides an overview of how earned income may affect eligibility for an entitlement to social security disability benefits and supplemental security income.

Session 2 Live Zoom (Half day):
Overview of the Impact of Wages on Social Security Disability Benefits

This half-day training will build upon the required online course (SETP 102) by providing opportunities to apply what was learned. Did you know someone who receives SSI (Supplemental Security Income) or SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) can work, possibly even full-time, and still maintain their eligibility for a cash payment and Medicaid or Medicare? Did you know you can save $17,000/year in a STABLE account, and more if you’re working, and not lose eligibility for SSI, Medicaid, or other means-tested
programs? By the end of the day, employment professionals should be able to confidently share
information and resources so job seekers, family members, and others who support them will make
decisions about employment based on facts and not fear.

Important Notes

  • All online courses are self-paced and include quizzes which you need to pass with a score of at least 80%.
  • A certificate of completion will be automatically generated once passing the final quiz.
  • Participants must have access to a computer or large tablet with reliable internet for the live Zoom days to participate in activities related to the training. We ask you not join via phone.
  • There is no fee for this training series.

SE Leadership Series

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13 days of high-quality supported employment professional development provide the foundation for the SE Leadership Series: Part 1 – Introduction to SRV as a Theory of Practice for Establishing High-Quality Employment Services, Part 2 – MG&A Systematic Instruction, Part 3 – MG&A Discovery, and Part 4 – MG&A Customized Job Development.

Experiential, practical learning represents a key component of the SE Leadership Series — time devoted for translation and reflection of content studied in the life of a job candidate with a disability. Course participants will have the option of inviting and arranging involvement with a learning partner, someone with a disability who needs a job or job advancement. The learning partner will not attend the events but will work in partnership with the course participant on the practical application of course content.

Personal mentoring will be provided as an option — providing assistance with planning and reviewing work being done with and on behalf of the learning partners. (See certification information in the section below.)

13 days not required – Participation in all four leadership events is highly recommended. The content areas are designed to be sequential and cumulative. However, for some, participation in all 13 days may not be possible. Therefore, participants may select any combination of the four events. (Check event descriptions for prerequisite requirements and recommendations.) Because the same events will be offered annually, it will be possible, for example, to participate in Parts 1 and 2 in 2023, and then Parts 3 and 4 in 2024.

Certification Requirements

Three certifications will be offered – We’re continuing our arrangement with Marc Gold & Associates by offering three certifications: 1-Systematic Instruction, 2-Discovery, and 3-Job Development.

Each of the 3 certification events will have a 3-day “Gateway Event.” There will be a maximum number of people attending each event, plus a maximum number of people that can pursue certification. The decision to seek certification may be made in advance of the gateway events, or within 10 days following the event. Certification requirements include: a) attending the relevant Gateway Event, b) completing an application/agreement, c) paying an additional fee ($525/certification), d) inviting the involvement of a learning partner, someone with a disability seeking employment, e) watching supplemental webinars, f) working with an assigned MG&A mentor to complete required assignments within the 20-week certification time frame, and g) obtaining a passing score on a comprehensive test or writing a summative essay. Additional certification information may be found within related documents on the MG&A Certification web pageNOTE: It’s important to complete the required SE Leadership Series gateway event for a particular certification prior to completing MG&A online certification registration. Because Kentucky VR is subsidizing the cost of certifications, the SETP will need to submit names of Kentuckians seeking certification. (KY cost per certification is $525, while the standard cost is $850 to $1,000 depending on the certification.) Successful completion of certification requirements will relate to specific eligibility for Vocational Rehabilitation enhanced rates.

Location, Cost & Registration Deadlines

  • All events will be held in Louisville at the U of L Shelby Campus. Building, room number, and directions will be provided with confirmation information.
  • $150 per person for each event — this includes materials, books, and snacks. Certification fees for Parts 2, 3, and 4 are additional ($525/certification).
  • Please refer to the event schedule below for the maximum number of people attending and registration deadlines for individual events. (Please download, complete, save and submit the registration file above to, or use the mailing instructions on the form.)
  • Due to the demand for quality Customized Employment services in Kentucky, we are offering a number of scholarships in 2023. The scholarship will cover the cost of: registration fees, books & materials, and certification. Click here for the application and to learn more about this scholarship opportunity. Question? Contact

Event Schedule

Part 1: January 31 – February 2, 2023 (3 days) – Introduction to SRV as a Theory of Practice for Establishing High-Quality Employment ServicesHope Leet Dittmeier and Milton Tyree (8:30-4:30, deadline 1/10, 30 maximum registration, $150 event fee) This event will move from what we do, and how to do it, into the essential dimension of why. We’ll examine Wolf Wolfensberger’s Social Role Valorization (SRV) Theory as a foundational framework central to decision-making and implementation of quality-supported employment. Topics will include: 1) the study of the dynamics of social devaluation and ways to address its impact through image enhancement and competency enhancement, 2) gaining clarity about the complexity of choice, 3) an enhanced level of discovery — knowing job seekers from a different perspective, 4) determining the most relevant job planning considerations, and 5) strengthening the role of employee (i.e., “my employee” versus “your client”). Many prior attendees have echoed the sentiment of this comment from a previous Leadership Series evaluation: “In my everyday life, the Social Role Valorization concepts have monumentally changed the way I think and act. It all seemed like such common sense, but when you put it all together and look at the way people are being treated, it’s life-altering.” Other Registration Details: No certification available. No prerequisites. Participation in this event is encouraged because it provides an important framework for everything that follows.

Part 2: February 28 – March 3, 2023 (4 days) – MG&A Systematic Instruction, Joy Eason Hopkins, Merry Reid Sheffer and Milton Tyree (8:30-4:30 deadline 2/7, 16-person maximum, 12-person maximum for certification, $150 event fee) In the late 70s, Marc Gold’s “Try Another Way” approach to systematic instruction demonstrated competence in people formerly believed not capable of practically anything, much less employment. Gold’s work set the stage for supported employment. Unfortunately, much of the momentum of the day, as well as the revolutionary learning Marc provided has been lost. The workshop will build on Dr. Gold’s work, exploring ways to support the employee and employer when the typical ways of instruction are not sufficient. Topics will include: 1) The connections between job fit, motivation, and learning, 2) Determining when to get involved with on-the-job instruction and when to step aside, 3) Encouraging and honoring the employer’s role in problem-solving, 4) Exploring alternative job methods, 5) Breaking a task into teachable steps, 6) Determining the best way to provide information for a learner, and 7) Promoting ways for people to develop confidence in making their own decisions in work and community. Other Registration Details: SRV & SE (Part 1) is recommended, but not required prior to attending this event. SETP Core Training is a prerequisite for SE direct service providers. No prerequisite for others attending gateway (e.g., VR Counselors, Exec. Dirs., Case Managers, parents…)

Part 3: June 20 – 22, 2023 (3 days)  – MG&A Discovery Gateway, Milton Tyree, Hope Leet Dittmeier, and Merry Reid Sheffer (8:30-4:30, deadline 5/30) 30-person maximum for gateway; 12-person maximum for certification, $150 event fee) In 1987 Michael Callahan and his colleagues at Marc Gold & Associates developed the Vocational Profile as an alternative to standardized vocational evaluation. Kentucky’s Person-Centered Employment Plan or PCEP was derived from the Vocational Profile. Much refinement has taken place through the last 30+ years regarding the Vocational Profile and Discovery (the process of devoting time to know job seekers and then discerning desirable job conditions, personal ways of contribution and interests including ways these relate to a fitting quality job). While our 6-day “SE Core Training” provides an excellent orientation to the PCEP and Discovery, there’s much more to know. And this event is designed for people seeking more! Other Registration Details: SRV & SE (Part 1) and Systematic Instruction (Part 2) are both recommended, but not required prior to attending this event. SETP Core Training is a prerequisite for SE direct service providers. No prerequisite for others (e.g., VR Counselors, Exec. Dirs., Case Managers, parents…)

Part 4: November 14 – 16, 2023 (3 days) – MG&A Job Development Gateway, Milton Tyree, Merry Reid Sheffer, and Annette Jett (deadline 10/24, 30-person maximum for gateway; 12-person maximum for certification, $150 event fee) This event dovetails with Part 3 of the SE Leadership Series, our enhanced study of the process of Discovery, writing a Vocational Profile, and convening a Customized Plan for Employment (CPE) meeting. Participants will study ways of connecting the CPE meeting with targeted job development, developing a Concept Portfolio, reviewing Job Analysis (from Systematic Instruction), performing an Employer Needs and Benefits Analysis, along with the study of representational considerations. Other Registration Details: SRV & SE (Part 1), Systematic Instruction (Part 2), and Discovery (Part 3) are all recommended, but not required prior to attending this event. SETP Core Training is a prerequisite for SE direct service providers. It’s recommended that SE direct service providers pursuing Job Development certification will have completed Discovery certification. Lacking Discovery certification, participants need evidence that they and their learning partners have completed the MG&A Discovery Process, including the development of a Profile, a Customized Plan for Employment, and a Visual Resume. No prerequisite for others attending gateway (e.g., VR Counselors, Exec. Dirs., Case Managers, parents…)


Hope Leet Dittmeier has devoted the last 35 years in a variety of roles, personally and professionally, investigating the question, “What would it take for people to enjoy ordinary lives in lieu of life in segregation?” Over the years she has developed programs specific to the needs of people thought of as challenging. Hope was the founder and executive director of Realizations, a service provider specializing in individualized and self-directed supports. During the last six years, she has spent much of her time as a trainer and consultant in Ireland. Hope is currently Executive Director at the Mattingly Edge. She holds a Master’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling from the University of Kentucky.

Joy Eason Hopkins was a student of Marc Gold, first working with him on the Marc Gold & Associates (MG&A) Georgia Project. She later managed and participated in MG&A projects in Texas, Ohio, Minnesota, and the United Kingdom. Much of her work with systematic instruction has been defining its relevance for today. For example, she embedded systematic instruction as a key part of the curriculum she developed for the Georgia’s Direct Support Professional Certificate Program, a nationally accredited training curriculum for individuals working in community services. Another aspect of the DSP Certificate is students working with learning partners, and it was Joy’s background with learning partners that established this important aspect of the SE Leadership Series.

Merry Reid Sheffer is the Lead Employment Specialist with Edge Employment where she has been for the past 3 years, connecting adults with disabilities to interesting and well-paying jobs. Her passion is assisting employers to apply Customized Employment to their hiring and training processes, opening them up to labor from a wider, more diverse pool of employees. She holds certifications in Systematic Instruction and Discovery from MG&A and is working on her Job Development certification. Merry Reid holds her Master of Divinity from Vanderbilt Divinity School where she focused on dismantling systems of mass incarceration.

Milton Tyree’s perspective about quality supported employment services stems from his career in supported employment beginning in 1981, his many opportunities through the years to develop personal relationships with people who have disabilities and their family members, along with extensive opportunities for study and work related to the social theories/practices of the late Dr. Marc Gold and the late Dr. Wolf Wolfensberger. He has experience in the design, development, and provision of supports and services promoting the participation of people with disabilities within valued aspects of everyday life. Milton has worked in a number of capacities including teaching, direct services (including employment specialist), curriculum development, consulting, and program administration.

Additional Disability and Employment Training Opportunities