Virtual Interview Training for Transition Age Youth (VIT-TAY) is an internet-delivered job interview simulation that provides repetitive practice to enhance interviewing skills through performance-based feedback. VIT-TAY improved access to employment for adults facing severe behavioral and mental health needs across 5 randomized controlled efficacy trials. Subsequently, the research team received funding from the National Institute of Mental Health to adapt VIT-TAY meet the needs of transition age youth (R34 MH111531). The team also received funding from the Kessler Foundation to evaluate the delivery of the newly adapted VIT-TAY to transition-age youth receiving services through Chicago Public School’s Office of Diverse Learner Supports and Services (ODLSS).
Students (n=99) were 61% male, 16-21 years old (mean age=18.4 years); 44.4% African American, 42.2% Latinx, 7.1% Asian American, 5.1% Caucasian, and 1.1% Arab American. Educational disabilities included learning disability (46.5%), intellectual disability (35.4%), autism (13.1%), and other (5%). In terms of reading level, 60% of students had less than a 4th grade reading level.
The preliminary findings are highly promising and suggest that using the adapted VIT-TAY as a supplement to federally-mandated transition services may contribute to higher rates of paid employment. The VIT-TAY tool is viewed by students as a highly acceptable intervention that is easy-to-use. Teachers and administrators report that VIT-TAY is consistent with the values of transition services. Teachers and administrators also noted that despite barriers associated with start-up labor (i.e., 3 hours to train teachers) for some districts, highly motivated teachers and administrators are eager to support the sustained delivery of VIT-TAY in their curriculums. CPS teachers did report that implementing VIT-TAY without the necessary resources (e.g,. access to computers and staffing supports such as paraprofessionals or teaching assistants) could be disruptive to their daily routine.
June 10, 2020