Faculty & Staff
Tammy Jorgensen-Smith, PhD, CRC
Phone: (813) 974-0973
Development, testing and implementation of innovative, customized employment service models to promote full inclusion and self-determination for people with complex disabilities
Dr. Smith is an Associate Professor in the Rehabilitation & Mental Health Counseling Program (RMHC) in the Department of Child and Family Studies and a formal affiliate of the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC)- a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD). Dr. Smith has dedicated her career to improving programs and systems that impact the lives of persons with disabilities. Her research focuses on the development, testing and implementation of innovative, customized employment service models to promote full inclusion and self-determination for people with complex disabilities.
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), is testing the feasibility, acceptability and preliminary efficacy of a customized employment intervention for adults with autism.
- The RSA Scholar Training Grant, funded through the U.S. Department of Education - Rehabilitation Service Administration, provides scholarships to master’s level students who aspire to enter the field of vocational rehabilitation (VR). The primary aim of this training grant is to is to increase the number of highly qualified professionals who work in the VR field and to train these scholars in customized employment strategies.
In addition to grants in process, a collaborative federal grant proposal to test ACCESS with Veterans with spinal cord injuries is in development and the RSA Scholar grant is preparing for its second 5-year cycle. 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 UCEDD.
Dr. Smith serves as Vice President of the Board for the Florida Chapter of the Association of Persons Supporting Employment First (APSE). She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Rehabilitation, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, and the International Journal of Autism and Related Disabilities and she has published multiple peer-reviewed articles and a book chapter. Additionally, Dr. Smith frequently presents her research at local, state, national, and international conferences. In 2014, she received the National APSE Research Award in recognition of her contributions to the field. In addition to her research and service activities, Dr. Smith teaches several courses through the RMHC master’s degree program and the Behavioral Healthcare doctoral program within the College of Behavioral and Community Sciences.
Current Research and Training
The program aims to address personnel shortages within the Florida Vocational Rehabilitation
(VR) system. New courses are proposed to teach scholars customized employment strategies
that align with provisions of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (WIOA)
and adhere to recommendations from researchers on essential knowledge domains. These
courses add to the already strong Council on Rehabilitation Education (CORE) accredited
program, ranked 30th in the nation by U.S. News and World Reports. The program emphasizes
applied learning that focuses on effective practices to serve VR consumers with a
wide range of disabilities.
The goal of this project is to refine and test an intervention that can be utilized by community-based Vocational Rehabilitation service practitioners to improve competitive employment outcomes for adults (age 22+) diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).