Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 3, issue 4
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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: The attitudes of employers toward workers with disabilities participating in supported employment programs were examined through face-to-face interviews with 46 employers who had hired and/or supervised supported employment participants. Results indicate that employers held generally favorable attitudes toward the employment potential of individuals with disabilities, as well as the types of services provided through supported employment programs. Furthermore, employers indicated that supported employment programs were not intrusive or disruptive to the work setting. However, several concerns were raised regarding specific aspects of supported employment programs, including the ability of supported employment to reduce job turnover and the reliability of supported…employment providers.
Abstract: I am writing this article to express the conviction that social services must share the blame for the high rates of unemployment of the people these services brand as having disabilities. Perhaps I should go further: the social service system must share the blame for the creation of the devastating stereotypes that the general public holds—stereotypes, unfortunately, that guide the actions of employers, too. These convictions come from my personal experiences working within a manufacturing company and subsequently being involved in my community's efforts to initiate supported employment. My company has been credited with maintaining a commitment to hiring people…who were believed by professionals to need extensive professional supports. My purpose is to describe the themes that have emerged from the obvious contradictions between the labels and low expectations that accompanied people to employment and our delight in discovering the exaggeration of their disability.
Abstract: This article provides a quality-improvement framework for discussing the support of employees with disabilities in the workplace. Our intent is to ground the concept in the employment setting and shift the responsibility for supported employment practices from the traditional system to employers and coworkers. The discussion addresses opportunities to improve social and economic outcomes for people with developmental disabilities through supported employment. We apply the principles of quality improvement from business literature as a method for analyzing supported employment from a systems-change perspective. Based on this analysis, natural support emerges as a logical and conceptually sound approach to employment of…people with disabilities. We also discuss several principles that have guided initial efforts at implementing support for employers who hire workers with disabilities.
Abstract: It is 4:30 PM on Friday afternoon, and Janice, the Job developer and manager of her rehabilitation agency's supported employment program, is about to close up shop. Before leaving the office, she checks her calendar for the upcoming week. She wants to make sure she is prepared for the work she must accomplish. Looking through her calendar, Janice realizes that she has just completed her second year as supported employment manager and job developer. It has been a good 2 years—for Janice, her program, and her consumers: the people with disabilities she serves. As she locks the agency door…and walks to her car, she reflects on the progress made in the past 2 years and the work that still needs to be done. Her agency has placed nearly two thirds of its consumers into community jobs and is well on its way to placing the others into integrated community or agency-operated businesses. The remaining challenges are great: finding jobs for people with the most severe disabilities; developing a broader range of jobs, particularly for consumers with mental illness; and developing cost-effective supported employment services. Although these goals are demanding, Janice is optimistic that they can be achieved. As Janice gets into her car, she realizes that her job is made much easier by the community support she and her agency have developed. She recalls how her placement this past week came about through a referral from one of her employers to a business acquaintance. She is encouraged because one of the advocates she works with called this afternoon to say that he had arranged a meeting with the owner of a large advertising and printing firm. The advocate, who was on the agency board, felt that the owner would be open to considering supported employment. As Janice drives, she is struck by how her job has evolved. She remembers how uncomfortable she was 2 years ago approaching employers she did not know: always wondering how receptive they would be and often finding that her timing was wrong or that she was viewed as just another sales person—and from the “handicapped center” no less! She is relieved that she seldom needs to make those “cold calls” these days. Somehow, she has been able to develop advocates who have generated business contacts for her and improved her agency's image. Now when she calls on an employer, she is viewed with much more credibility and receives a more open response. Certainly, her placements in the leading companies in town are a tribute to the community support her agency has received. As Janice drives past the hospital, she remembers how her first advocate, her executive director, provided her with the entree. The executive director, who met the new hospital administrator through the Chamber of Commerce, had set up the initial appointment. From this contact and Janice's survey of the hospital's personnel needs, four Jobs were created across three departments. This dispersed placement was particularly important because it resulted in cost-effective Job coaching and better support. Turning at the light, she notices several clinics in which she has Job sites. These were arranged with the help of the hospital administrator after he understood how supported employment worked and saw the benefits to the hospital, the employees with disabilities, coworkers, and the community. As she passes the ATC Corporation, one of the largest employers in the community, Janice is reminded that her supported employment business advisory committee recently agreed to set up a meeting with one of ATC's top executives. She smiles while thinking how glad she is that she does not have to tackle that corporate bureaucracy and sell the program on her own. Just looking at the size of the building reminds her how difficult the task could be. Janice is approaching home now. She notices that the neighbors down the street, the Smiths, have planted new trees in the front yard. She makes a mental note to stop by this weekend. She wants to let Mr. Smith know that she is making a presentation next week at the bank where he works. His effort had led to Janice meeting with the president. She hopes that after her presentation, she can discuss how the meeting was received and have Mr. Smith suggest how to proceed. As Janice pulls into her driveway, she notices that her husband is already home. She hopes he has dinner started—fat chance on a Friday night! Despite their diet, he will probably want to go out for pizza or a fish fry. Oh, well, at least he was able to set up a meeting with his union steward at the plant next week. If he can help her develop a positive relationship with the union, he certainly deserves his pizza. As she gets her briefcase and walks into the house, she realizes that by using referrals, her Job has become much more enjoyable. She has met interesting people, has created more Jobs with fewer rejections, and feels more closely connected to the community. It has been a good 2 years.
Abstract: Most students leaving high school do not go on to college. For them, there is no educational strategy that results in high-skill, high-wage jobs. Instead, they go on to low-skill, low-wage occupations. Education reform is based on coordinating our educational and social needs with our economic needs and focusing on high-skill development, thus resulting in high wages for graduating students. As this new paradigm evolves, an opportunity exists to eliminate the separation between special education and regular education. This article offers strategies to increase the ties between school and business for all students leaving high school but not going on…to college.