The Real Pay for Real Jobs (RPRJ) Education and Outreach, Partnership Development, provisions of Individualized Services and Capacity Building (EPIC) Approach is a grant of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS).

The overarching goal of the RPRJ EPIC approach is to effectively eliminate Subminimum Wage Employment (SWE) in Virginia.

The goals of the EPIC approach include:

  • Supporting individuals with disabilities in moving from subminimum wage employment to competitive integrated employment.
  • "Shutting the front door" for youth and students at risk of entering subminimum wage or sheltered employment.
  • Supporting employers who hold 14(c) certificates in transitioning to a business model that supports competitive integrated employment in lieu of subminimum wage employment.
  • Implementing the Integrated Resource Team (IRT) model to ensure individuals with disabilities with high support needs get the necessary wrap-around support needed to successfully achieve and maintain competitive integrated employment.
  • Developing a value-based purchasing system that aligns financial incentives for direct service providers with the achievement of outcomes linked to increasing competitive integrated employment, for direct service providers, while creating a funding model and methodology that complies with federal standards and ensures that the intended results of Customized and Supported Employment are achieved.

Partners of VA DARS EPIC Approach include:

  • George Washington University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University
    • Center for Family Involvement
    • Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (RRTC)
  • ARC of Virginia
  • The Parent Educational Advocacy Training Center (PEATC)
  • Griffin-Hammis Associates
  • SOAR365
  • Northwestern University and Thirdsight LLC
More about EPIC (coming soon!)