Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 46, issue 3
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Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation will provide a forum for discussion and dissemination of information about the major areas that constitute vocational rehabilitation.
Periodically, there will be topics that are directed either to specific themes such as long-term care or different disability groups such as those with psychiatric impairment. Often a guest editor who is an expert in the given area will provide leadership on a specific topic issue. However, all articles received directly or submitted for a special issue are welcome for peer review. The emphasis will be on publishing rehabilitation articles that have immediate application for helping rehabilitation counselors, psychologists and other professionals in providing direct services to people with disabilities.
Original research articles, review articles, program descriptions, and case studies will be considered for publication. Ideas for special topical issues are welcomed as well.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In an ever-evolving landscape, states are working to achieve new levels of integrated employment outcomes. While states have been building supports for more than five decades to meet the needs of their constituents, a different playing field has emerged in recent years. This is a result of new regulations, requests from advocates and families, shifting expectations and fluctuating state budgets. OBJECTIVE: How are states managing the range of large and small changes needed to update the employment and employment-related service definitions that are offered? How can we ensure connection between employment and other full life outcomes?…And most importantly, how can stakeholders establish individual integrated employment as a priority goal? CONCLUSION: This article describes states’ efforts towards employment first goals and outlines more changes that need to be made.
Keywords: IDD, SELN, ICI, State data, integrated employment, state systems, CMS HCBS’ settings rule, WIOA, state strategies, Olmstead, Missouri, Massachusetts, Ohio, systems change
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Fragmented employment service systems, a lack of information about disability across sectors, and a wide disconnect between the efforts to employ people with disabilities and the needs of the business community, have presented barriers to the adoption of best practices and effective implementation of new policies designed to improve the employment rate of people with disabilities. OBJECTIVE: The goal of the Diversity Partners Project is to develop, test, and launch an innovative learning intervention to improve the relationships between employment service professionals (including disability services, workforce development and staffing organizations) and employers seeking to hire individuals…with disabilities. This paper illustrates how a systematic approach to knowledge translation (KT) was used in an iterative intervention development process that engaged key stakeholders at every phase. CONCLUSION: In the disability arena, KT requires a willingness to challenge strongly held assumptions on the part of the project team, to move swiftly and repeatedly between inquiry and development, and to honestly engage with potential stakeholders who have a vested interest in the development efforts being undertaken.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Young adults with intellectual disabilities (ID) are among the poorest of any disability group (Newman et al., 2011). Service gaps and problems include (a) low expectations; (b) a lack of coordination between education, vocational rehabilitation services (VR), and developmental disabilities (DD) agencies; and (c) families and students expressed frustration with the lack of integrated work options available. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this paper is to describe the TOPS (T ransition O ptions for P ostsecondary S ettings) model, as well as provide resources that can be used to support the development and refinement of other postsecondary programs,…and, ultimately, improve employment outcomes for individuals with ID. METHODS: In this paper, we describe how the TOPS program addresses the four transition areas: academic access, career development, campus membership, and self-determination. CONCLUSIONS: Inclusive postsecondary programs have the potential to improve employment outcomes for people with ID, and using ideas presented in this paper can enhance postsecondary programing.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Companies are increasingly moving toward the use of web-based hiring practices. Unfortunately, job applicants with disabilities may encounter barriers to accessing and submitting online job applications. Recent research reveals that nearly half of job seekers with disabilities who applied for a job online found the experience to be difficult or impossible. OBJECTIVE: This article provides job seekers with intellectual and developmental disabilities and those who support them with winning strategies for navigating the online application process. CONCLUSION: Strategies focus on getting your application through automated filters in applicant tracking systems, making a good first…impression, requesting assistance, leveraging your personal connections, and standing out from the crowd.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The term “it takes a village” has been used over the past couple of decades to encourage the use of social capital to raise children into successful adults. All too often we have not used the same tactics to support our youth with disabilities to reach the same levels of successful transition into adulthood. OBJECTIVE: We will explore what it means to access Social Capital and the importance of using these connections to break down barriers to employment, community and independent living. CONCLUSION: Person centered planning processes are critical for identifying and utilizing social…capital and for successful transition to employment.
Keywords: Social capital, youth with disabilities, transition, person centered planning
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The Paid Apprenticeship and college for Youth with disabilities (PAY Check) program is a partnership between the states’s University Center of Excellence in Developmental Disabilities (UCEDD), state Vocational Rehabilitation, Local Education Agencies (LEA), Delgado Community College (DCC) and University Medical Center-New Orleans (UMC-NO). PAY Check uses a “braided” funding approach and builds on foundations established by an earlier post-secondary education (PSE) for youth with intellectual disabilities grant from the U.S. Department of Education. PAY Check includes a high school diploma option, PSE, paid apprenticeship components, and incorporates self-determination training throughout. The program serves students ages 18–21 years…who receive special education services and are eligible for VR services. All components of PAY Check take place in integrated community settings (e.g., DCC campus, public transportation, paid apprenticeship sites) and provide opportunities for participants to acquire and practice pre-employment transition skills (Pre-ETS) as delineated in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (PL 113-803, 2016). OBJECTIVE: This paper describes the unique transition program for youth with disabilities called PAY Check. CONCLUSION: This article offers rationales for including its key components, discusses the programs development, provides an overview of the program, and concludes with recommendations for next steps.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: States have moved toward defunding sheltered workshops and supporting the transformation towards integrated competitive employment and inclusive day services. As a result, many local service providers have been challenged to consider how they will transform their services in order to provide fully inclusive work and community life engagement opportunities. OBJECTIVE: Findings from a Delphi panel of experts in the field of organizational transformation offer ten elements necessary for successful change away from segregated work options. Findings from expert interviews on community life engagement indicate four guideposts for the provision of high-quality non-work day supports. CONCLUSION:…Combining findings across these two projects, in addition to a reflection from a provider that has undergone transformation, this manuscript offers guidance for providers of day and employment services in their efforts to support competitive integrated employment and meaningful community life engagement for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
Keywords: Integrated employment, community life engagement, transformation, IDD
Abstract: BACKGROUND: People with disabilities today have greater opportunities for inclusion and full community engagement than ever before. There is an increasing importance placed on supporting higher expectations: More people have jobs where they work alongside co-workers without a focus on disability. Innovative leaders recognize that all employees do better when they have support tailored to their unique skills and work styles. Yet many disability professionals continue to hold unconscious beliefs that influence their actions, well-intentioned as they may be, and ultimately create situations that are unnatural and bizarre—in a word, “weird”. OBJECTIVE: It is time for a…dialogue about how this has led to the perpetuation of unwanted “special treatment,” low expectations, and institutionalized segregation of people with disabilities. CONCLUSION: The authors outline ways people can “stop making it weird” and share the campaign of the same name.
Keywords: Unconscious beliefs, low expectations, special treatment, inspiration porn, disability is not exceptional, inclusion, community engagement, #stopmakingitweird
Abstract: BACKGROUND: With recent legislative and funding support from the Higher Education Opportunity Act (2008) and Higher Education Reform and Opportunity Act (2015), many colleges and universities are expanding to serve a wider range of students, including individuals with intellectual disability (ID). OBJECTIVE: This practice brief shares how one fully inclusive postsecondary (PSE) program in the southeastern United States provides PSE and vocational training to successfully connect 80% of their program graduates to integrated employment outcomes after graduation with reported long-term success. CONCLUSION: Details are shared on how the PSE program established more than 40 internships…and collaborated with various employers, family members, natural supports, coworkers, and community members to achieve successful employment opportunities both during and after college experiences. Finally, specific innovative practices used in this PSE program related to a) career interests/assessments, b) person centered planning practices to determine support needs, c) advising and college course planning, d) setting up internships and paid work experiences, e) evaluation and observation of work performance, and f) connecting back to the community with video resumes are also shared.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Customized employment opportunities are successful ways to employ individuals with disabilities because there is a specific match between the needs of an employer and the strengths and preferences of an individual with a disability. OBJECTIVE: This article describes one non-profit’s success in meeting the goals of Employment First initiatives for individuals with significant disabilities through entrepreneurship as a means of customized employment. CONCLUSION: Successful opportunities and innovations include the “right kind” of social enterprise, entrepreneurship through self-employment and micro-enterprises, and other entrepreneurial models. Strategies for resolving the real and perceived conflicts between entrepreneurial and…non-profit business models, as well as lessons learned during our own transformation, are discussed for other organizations wishing to reorganize their missions and operations from traditional (pre)vocational providers to ones that truly support integrated, competitive employment for all.
Keywords: Employment, customized employment, self-employment, entrepreneurship, Employment First, autism, behavioral, mental health, intellectual and developmental disabilities, social enterprise