Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 50, issue 1
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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: Project Career was a five-year, multi-site development project using cognitive support technology (CST), in the form of iPads and applications (apps), and vocational rehabilitation strategies, to improve academic and employment outcomes for veteran and civilian students with traumatic brain injury (TBI) in 2- and 4-year colleges/universities. OBJECTIVE: This article presents a mixed-methodological examination of the participating students’ experiences, activities, and outcomes in Project Career. METHODS: Demographics and key information obtained during intakes were analyzed, and qualitative and quantitative analyses of case notes from students’ meetings with the project’s Technology and Employment Coordinators…(TECs) were conducted. The purpose of the analyses was to identify topics discussed by students, including challenges, services sought, actions taken, experience with using CSTs, and outcomes. RESULTS: The majority of meetings with TECs focused on academic counseling/support, app use, employment, and accessibility services and supports. Most quotations were related to positive outcomes, which in turn were primarily related to school and test performance, impact of apps, overall functioning, and the use of technology overall. CONCLUSIONS: Results highlight that the Project Career model, which combines best practices from CST and the vocational rehabilitation field, can be effective in successfully supporting students with TBI in undergraduate settings.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Transportation research suggests that persons who travel further to work earn higher hourly wages. OBJECTIVE: To explore whether workers with disabilities who have longer commute times earn higher wages. METHODS: Data from the 2016 American Community Survey is used to examine commuting time and wages for workers with and without disabilities, controlling for individual characteristics. RESULTS: Travel time to work is quite similar between workers with and without disabilities, but workers with disabilities who travel similar amounts of time as workers without disabilities earn substantially less per hour, even when controlling for individual…characteristics. CONCLUSIONS Commuting time does not contribute to the wage gap between workers with and without disabilities.
Keywords: Transportation, commuting, wage, American community survey
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Despite promising economic and job growth over the last decade, achieving quality employment outcomes for people with significant disabilities remains a challenge in the United States. Recent legislation responded to this challenge by, among other things, expanding the definition of supported employment to include customized employment. Customized employment uses an individualized process to first examine a person’s skills, interests, and support needs and then to create integrated employment by matching these with business needs. As states integrate customized employment into their service delivery systems, they will need guidelines about what is and what is not considered best practice. Because…discovery is the foundation of the customized employment process, measures to determine adherence to critical elements of the discovery process must be developed. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to generate consensus about what experts believe are acceptable and unacceptable tenets of customized employment discovery systems and services. METHODS: A 3-step, modified online Delphi method was used to obtain consensus from a panel of experts in customized employment discovery. The Delphi panel rated items on a discovery systems and discovery services fidelity scale over three iterations. RESULTS: A total of 60 discovery systems and services tenets were reviewed by the panel. Of the 20 systems discovery tenets, 14 of the acceptable and three of the unacceptable systems tenets met criteria for consensus. Of the 40 discovery services tenets, 20 of the acceptable and 10 of the unacceptable services tenets met criteria for consensus. CONCLUSIONS: While there appears to be subtle differences in what experts believe are acceptable and unacceptable tenets of discovery, a significant majority of the acceptable and not acceptable discovery systems and services tenets achieved consensus after three iterative rounds. As more is learned about the critical components of the discovery process, a fidelity scale can ensure consistent implementation of discovery.
Keywords: Customized employment, discovery, disability, fidelity, delphi study
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of Supported Employment (SE) is an evidence-based practice that leads to an increase in successful employment outcomes for people with serious mental illness (Bond, Drake, & Becker, 2008 ). The practical application and implementation of this practice, however, is limited in the Southeastern region of the United States. OBJECTIVE: This study examined the perceptions held by and practices used by mental health professionals regarding the employment of individuals with serious mental illness at two sites in Alabama. METHODS: The two sites yielded 79 participants, including clinicians and case…managers, who responded to the Health Professional Perceptions of Employment Survey - Revised. Analysis of the quantitative data was completed using an independent samples t -test, Pearson product moment correlation coefficient, and Spearman rank correlation coefficient. The qualitative data was analyzed for common themes based on survey responses. RESULTS: A statistically significant relationship was identified that supports the connection between perceptions and practices of mental health professionals related to the employment of people with serious mental illness. CONCLUSIONS: Mental health professionals’ attitudes toward employment affects their consideration of employment for their clients, which will help or hinder the clients’ vocational progress and recovery.
Keywords: Individual placement and support, supported employment, individuals with
serious mental illness, vocational rehabilitation
Abstract: BACKGROUND: There is a growing interest among policymakers in improving the delivery of vocational rehabilitation programs to Social Security Disability (SSD) beneficiaries. To advance these efforts, policy makers must understand what prevents beneficiaries from returning to work. OBJECTIVE: This paper investigates the relationship between functional limitations and employment among SSD beneficiaries with musculoskeletal (MSK) conditions. Drawing from the ICF model of disability, we hypothesize that functional limitations mediate the pathway between the musculoskeletal condition and employment. METHODS: We use a nationally representative sample of SSD beneficiaries from the National Beneficiary Survey. We explore the relationships between…health conditions, functional limitations, and employment in a multivariate mediation analysis. RESULTS: Mediation effects are statistically significant at the 5 percent level. We estimate that pain mediates over 50 percent of the direct effect of an MSK condition. Lower body, mobility, and upper body limitations mediate 22, 18, and 10 percent of the direct effect of an MSK condition, respectively. CONCLUSIONS: Functional limitations, in particular experiencing moderate to severe pain, mediate the relationship between the MSK condition and employment among SSD beneficiaries. Addressing these functional limitations may be of first order importance in enabling employment for the MSK population.
Keywords: Disability, Social Security Administration, return to work, employment services, ICF
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Employment and independent living are both critical factors for increasing the quality of life for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). Recently there has been an increasing number of post-secondary education (PSE) programs opening on college campuses focused on improving these outcomes. Unfortunately, there are a lack of studies measuring the efficacy of PSE programs, especially based on the type of programming provided (i.e., inclusive, mixed/hybrid, separate). OBJECTIVE: This study sought to determine the effectiveness a mixed/hybrid PSE program had on employment and independent living outcomes for individuals with ID. METHODS: A 33 item survey was…mailed to the parents of all program graduates who exited between 2010 and 2016. RESULTS: Findings indicated 96% of students had at least one paid employment position after graduation, while the remaining 4% had enrolled in additional PSE training. However, at the time of the survey only 84% were currently employed, while 44% of graduates were living independently. On average, graduates worked 22 hours per week, earning $8.93 per hour. CONCLUSIONS: In comparison to the national average for individuals with ID, graduates from a hybrid/mixed PSE program demonstrated significantly higher rates of employment (84% v. 34%) and independent living (44% v. 16%).
Keywords: Intellectual disabilities, post-secondary education, employment, independent living
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Policymakers have a growing interest in the role played by employers in promoting labour market participation for jobseekers with support needs. This is reflected in the development of demand-led approaches which adopt employers’ hiring requirements as a starting point for labour market intervention. OBJECTIVE: The article examines the work of job agents, who promote the matching of jobseekers and employers in a Norwegian demand-led approach called Ripples in the Water (RiW). The aim is to understand job agents’ strategic and brokering work of employer engagement. METHODS: Explorative, qualitative study based on interviews and field notes…from formal and informal meetings with job agents, employers and jobseekers in RiW. RESULTS: Job agents function as knowledge brokers who connect the discourses of welfare and market. CONCLUSIONS: RiW represents one possible approach to increasing employer engagement in vocational rehabilitation. Job agents in RiW build relations with employers by reframing vocational rehabilitation.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Individuals with psychiatric disabilities experience greater unemployment than the general population. Contributing to this high rate of unemployment is employer stigma, specifically as related to employers’ concerns regarding hiring individuals with psychiatric disabilities. OBJECTIVE: This study examined human resource (HR) professionals’ views on hiring and employing individuals with psychiatric disabilities. METHODS: Focus groups were conducted with members of a large HR association in a middle-Atlantic state. RESULTS: Two major findings in this study include the identification of specific attributes that HR professionals look for in job candidates and that the individuals who disclose…a psychiatric disability before a job offer will likely be screened-out. CONCLUSION: The knowledge gained from HR professionals can be used to help prepare job seekers for the competitive employment market and assist job developers in their interactions with employers. The contrast between the model employee, as described by HR professionals, and their concerns about hiring individuals with psychiatric disabilities is further explored.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Transition-aged youth with disabilities lag behind same-aged peers without disabilities in education and employment outcomes, contributing to economic disparities across the lifespan. OBJECTIVE: To address these disparities, federal partners jointly funded the PROMISE Initiative, which includes six demonstration research projects targeting youth with disabilities receiving Supplemental Security Income (SSI). METHODS: This paper reports preliminary data (n = 1,429) from one of these projects called ASPIRE. Youth receiving SSI aged 14–16 were randomly assigned to a control or intervention condition. Intervention activities included ongoing case management and training opportunities in self-determination, financial literacy, transition planning, and benefits…counseling. RESULTS: Study participant data from enrollment, 12-months, and 24-months post-enrollment showed significantly better outcomes for intervention youth compared to control youth in terms of parent encouragement about having a job (p = 0.008), youth expectations of working (p = 0.001), and participation in employment activities (p = 0.009). These factors are associated with improved long-term economic outcomes. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that providing case management and self-determination services to youth on SSI might result in improved long-term outcomes.