The ASPIRE initiative will assist up to six selected states with integrating state policy, program and funding infrastructures to expand evidence-based employment services for people with a disability resulting from mental health conditions.  The goal is to increase competitive integrated employment for this population.  ODEP has contracted with Westat to implement the ASPIRE initiative.  Westat will develop a two-tiered learning community, reflecting the principles of successful learning communities, focusing on the goal of expanding evidence-based employment services statewide, and encouraging states to adopt evidence-based employment strategies.  With guidance from ODEP, Westat will assist each state in preparing a strategic plan with goals and objectives to guide project activities.  Westat will work with its subject matter experts to provide support and ongoing policy consultation to state agencies, community mental health sites, and local providers in each of the selected ASPIRE states.

Period:  9/21/20-9/20/22

Project Team

Mustafa Karakus Ph.D., Project Director
Deborah Becker, M.Ed., CRC
Gary Bond, Ph.D.
Erika Bonilla, M.S.
Ruth Brock, M.S.
Robert Drake, M.D., Ph.D.
Jacqueline Pogue, M.A.
Sandra Reese, B.S.
Jarnee Riley, M.S.
Sarah Swanson, M.S., CRC


Funding: Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), U.S. Department of Labor