Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 42, 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: Steve Savage, who passed away recently, was a trainer, mentor, advocate, and leader in the disability field. This tribute highlights his professional accomplishments as a pioneer and champion for the rights of citizens with disabilities, as well as his personal zest for life.
Keywords: Steve Savage, transition, supported employment, organizational change, APSE
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP) initiated the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Project (EFSLMP) to assist states to align policies, regulations and funding priorities to encourage integrated employment as the primary outcome for individuals with significant disabilities. OBJECTIVE: This paper describes the activities undertaken by two states designated as Protégé States of the Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Project of the United States Department of Labor’s (DOL) Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP). CONCLUSION: Protégé states received mentoring from the identified mentor state as well as…training and technical assistance by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). While five aspects of system change were shared by the states, the efforts undertaken to effect change were individual to each state. Lessons learned are also noted.
Keywords: Employment First State Leadership Mentoring Project (EFSLMP), Department of Labor’s (DOL), Office of Disability Employment Policy (ODEP), systems change
Abstract: BACKGROUND: In April 2009, the Florida Center for Inclusive Communities (FCIC) conducted a two-day training on the Discovery process for the Brevard County School System as part of the Supported, Competitive, Integrated Employment Training Teams (SCIETT) project. The Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) representatives at the training came up with a plan to integrate Discovery into the public VR system. They presented the information to the State VR office and requested support to conduct a pilot project to test the feasibility of this idea. OBJECTIVE: This article describes a systems change project initiated by the Florida Division of Vocational Rehabilitation…(VR) to build the capacity of the public VR system to effectively serve individuals with complex disabilities by adding Discovery, a component of the customized employment process, as an alternative to traditional vocational evaluation. CONCLUSION: A collaborative effort between Florida VR, Marc Gold & Associates, Southeast TACE, and the University of South Florida resulted in a certification process to train community-based providers to provide Discovery as a billable service for VR customers who have not been successful in obtaining competitive, integrated employment through traditional strategies. The article includes an overview of this innovative project and lessons learned to assist other states and communities in replicating the process.
Keywords: Disability, customized employment, discovery, systems change
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Research has consistently shown that self-determination, a person’s authority and opportunity to make life choices, is a key element for a meaningful and independent life. Nevertheless, many young adults with disabilities are placed in overbroad or undue guardianships – guardianships imposed on people who have the capacity to make their own decisions or who can use less-restrictive alternatives to guardianship – denying them their right to make fundamental choices about where they live, what they do, and with whom they interact. OBJECTIVE: This article gives an overview of the negative implications of overbroad or undue guardianship,…the benefits of self-determination, and ways Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) supports and services can provide employment-based education and training to help young adults with disabilities develop and demonstrate self-determination, gain independent living skills, and overcome any perceived need for guardianship. CONCLUSION: People with disabilities who are encouraged and supported to make their own decisions are better employed at higher salaries and more independent. VR supports and services focused on employment-based self-determination and independent living skills can empower young adults with disabilities.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Family Employment Awareness Training (FEAT) was developed and implemented in Kansas for the purposes of raising expectations for employment and increasing knowledge of resources to support the employment of people with disabilities. In 2012 we developed and piloted a survey to assess seven key constructs related to the content taught in FEAT and other findings in the literature. The seven constructs assessed by the Community Employment Survey are: (a) expectations for competitive employment, (b) knowledge of employment resources, (c) barriers to attaining competitive employment, (d) access to and use of resources, (e) competitive employment outcomes, (f) and perceptions…of FEAT, and (g) demographics. In 2013, we field-tested the survey as a pre-test measure (without the items related to the perceptions of FEAT) and preliminary analysis of this first year of data indicated that we maintained or improved reliability with the larger sample used in the field-testing. OBJECTIVE: In this manuscript, we provide a description of the development and testing of the Community Employment Survey and share implications and future uses for this survey. INSTRUMENT DESCRIPTION: The Community Employment Survey measures seven constructs (i.e., expectations, knowledge, resources, barriers, employment outcomes, demographics, and perceptions of FEAT), each of which is relevant to those interested in competitive employment for individuals with disabilities. CONCLUSION: The Community Employment Survey is a valid and reliable instrument that can be adapted to meet the needs of multiple stakeholders, including those interested in evaluating training programs.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A group of persons explored concepts of normalization, poverty, inclusion, supported employment and individuals with I/DD through an interactive dialogue in a network cafá. The question driven dialogue captured the group consideration of what is currently most effective, ineffective and future hope. OBJECTIVE: Dialogue with a group of persons to discover is community has a role in the culture of self-sufficiency. METHODS: Network Café and open dialogue. The conversation was lead by the presenters and 5 pre-determined questions with discussion opportunity of effective, least effective and future hope. RESULTS: The results are…posted in Table 1 with a discussion of most effective, least effective and future hope. The dynamics appeared to be centered on early inclusion, inclusive minded and trained education system as well as adult supports, benefit planning and self-advocacy. CONCLUSIONS: The dialogue was strong that persons with I/DD do not experience life in the same manner as others. Normalization of poverty has been embraced by culture. Culture needs to shift.
Keywords: Normalization, poverty, inclusion, supported employment, individuals with I/DD, dialogue
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Employment outcomes for people with disabilities continue to be significantly worse than those without disabilities. Government-based employment services and supports continue to face major challenges in reaching the full population of people with disabilities and the outcomes have not shown notable positive changes in last decade. OBJECTIVE: This article discusses a potential solution to this problem, to increase the support infrastructure by exploiting the abundance of local communities. CONCLUSION: Community development to solve local unemployment for all people, including people with disabilities, is necessary to increase economic opportunities and lead to more…sustainable efforts to improve employment outcomes. Capacity building through neighborhood networks that include faith-based organizations, business associations, advocacy groups, job clubs, and other community groups can be a low cost but effective way to connect people with jobs outside of the traditional disability system.
Keywords: Community development, employment, capacity building, non-traditional services
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Project SEARCH is a successful job readiness program for high school students with disabilities, ages 18– 21, and is recognized for its innovative approach and collaborative efforts between business, education and vocational rehabilitative services. Project SEARCH employment outcomes far exceed the national average rate of employment for people with disabilities, with a 68% success rate in transitioning students from high school into competitive employment. However, little is known about the long term employment outcomes for the young people who have completed the training program. OBJECTIVE: This study, that includes longitudinal data collected from three Project SEARCH…sites in Upstate New York that have an impressive 83% success rate overall, provides the first longitudinal analysis of the impact of Project SEARCH. CONCLUSION: Data collected as part of this 5-year evaluation project indicate promising trends; and support the notion that the Project SEARCH model is successfully preparing young students with disabilities with the skills necessary to both obtain and retain employment in integrated work settings. While these findings are promising, further research is needed to substantiate the reported outcomes.
Keywords: Employment, post school outcomes, program evaluation, transition, developmental disabilities, Project SEARCH