Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation - Volume 54, 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: OBJECTIVE: The primary purpose is to share information about 50 individuals with significant intellectual disabilities, the lowest intellectually functioning 1% of those who exited schools, from 1981 to 2003. RESULTS: The 47 who attended the Madison Metropolitan School District (MMSD) received instruction in integrated nonschool work and related environments as part of their school experiences. After exiting school, the 50 functioned in integrated work settings for over 36 years. Information pertaining to the work environments in which they functioned, the work tasks performed, the reasons for changes in environments and tasks, the hours worked per week, the wages…earned, the travel modes used, the lunch supports provided, the extra supports provided by Job Coaches, involvement in Community and Recreation activities and where each resided is presented. Social relationships with coworkers and others without disabilities, the mortality of the 50 workers and their parents and guardianship are also addressed. CONCLUSION: The authors are not aware of any other postschool follow up study of so many workers with significant intellectual disabilities who functioned in integrated work settings for such long periods of time.
Keywords: Significant intellectual disabilities, integrated work, school to work
transition, longitudinal post school follow up
Abstract: BACKGROUND: After decades of local, state and national efforts to increase employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities, progress has been slow, with a mere 17.9% of persons with a disability employed in 2020 compared to 61.8% for persons without a disability (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, February 2021 ). Individuals with disabilities have demonstrated their abilities and desire to work, including those with significant disabilities, yet our country remains entrenched in outdated and ineffective models of day services (i.e., sheltered workshops, non-work programs) and precious public dollars continue to be used for these services that congregate and segregate individuals, pay…subminimum wages, and deny individuals their human and civil rights. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to describe one state’s efforts to advance employment for working age individuals with disabilities through a statewide Employment First initiative called Work to Include. Indiana is now in its third year of this grassroots initiative driven by a coalition of self-advocates. Major activities of the initiative are discussed, including passing Indiana’s Employment First law, holding statewide Town Hall meetings, establishing 11 local Work to Include teams, developing and implementing a state Employment First plan, launching local and statewide Disability Employment Awareness month campaigns, using social media and webinars to disseminate information, hosting Employment First Summits, and collaborating with employers and state agencies to promote employment outcomes. CONCLUSION: Next steps toward systems change are discussed, including the establishment of an Employment First office at the state and securing an Executive Order from the governor to make the state a model employer.
Keywords: Employment First, employment of people with disabilities, state systems change
Abstract: BACKGROUND: A contributing factor to the higher unemployment rates of adults with disabilities is the limited opportunities to gain insight into employment options. Assessments are often used to learn a job seekers skills, preferences, and support needs. Situational assessments in real work settings create hands-on experiences with a variety of work tasks and work environments which better inform the employment choices of job seekers. METHODS: This article explores situational assessments and introduces a tool designed for the employment support professional conducting the assessment to capture information necessary to make more informed employment choices. RESULTS: This article…defines situational assessments while introducing a person-centered tool to support employment support professionals to effectively document and analyze the observations of each situational assessment.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Utah’s School-to-Work Initiative is funded by a Partnerships in Integrated Employment Systems Change grant. Our project focuses on building school-level collaborative teams to support transitioning students with the most significant disabilities. Participating students complete work experiences and paid internships leading to permanent competitive integrated employment prior to exit. OBJECTIVE: By integrating two predictors for post-secondary employment, our framework implements customized employment to demonstrate Employment First for students with the most significant disabilities. METHODS: An advisory board evaluated applications and selected Utah secondary schools representing urban, suburban, and rural areas. We provide professional development on transition…during biannual community of practice meetings. Subject matter experts provide technical assistance to collaborative teams on implementing customized employment. RESULTS: Eight school districts have collaborative teams that serve nine secondary schools. We braid funding from VR, Medicaid Waiver, and WIOA to support students with significant disabilities obtain competitive integrated employment. Students’ outcomes have been challenged by the lack of employment providers for customized employment, the turnover of staff in agencies, and the limited resources for English language learners. CONCLUSIONS: We have successfully braided funding and collaboratively support 82 students with significant disabilities and families to navigate the adult agency process.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Supporting employment consultants in their work with job seekers is critical for increasing the employment outcomes of people with disabilities. OBJECTIVE: To better understand how to leverage data for supporting employment consultants, including what metrics to track, what to do with the data, and what can be improved. METHODS: A panel of three directors of employment programs addressed these questions as part of the Association of People Supporting Employment First (APSE) 2020 conference. RESULTS: Most employment service providers collect data for billing and compliance reporting. Innovative providers leverage data for quality improvement.…CONCLUSIONS: Tracking metrics designed specifically for monitoring the implementation of effective employment supports is key for leveraging data for continuous quality improvement and thus improving job seekers’ employment outcomes.
Keywords: Job development, employment service providers, technology, evidence-based, intellectual disabilities
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Collaboration between supported employment providers and parents/guardians of job seekers with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities is key to employment success. However, parents are often concerned about the efficacy of employment supports or the capacity of the professionals providing the service. Likewise, job coaches may consider certain kinds of parent involvement as detrimental to a successful job match. OBJECTIVE: This article provides context for why parents/guardians may be distrustful of the employment process, as well as why employment specialists may struggle to build strong partnerships with parents/guardians. METHODS: This article will discuss how to implement practices…that not only welcome the critical input of families, but also maintain healthy and well-defined boundaries that affirm the autonomy, professionalism, and competence of the worker.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Traditional job development for people with disabilities involves placement of individuals into currently open community-based positions or customized positions in the community. OBJECTIVE: When an individual expresses the desire to be self-employed and grow their own business, job developers are unaware of the opportunities available to assist in the process. Entrepreneurship or self-employment has been achieved by many notorious businessmen throughout time. These businessmen all have a disability in which they have learned to embrace their strengths and receive assistance for their weaknesses. CONCLUSIONS: Lessons can be learned from the top businessmen to assist job…developers in developing self-employment and entrepreneurship for their individuals to build a better job development toolbox.
Keywords: Employment, self-employment, entrepreneurship, disabilities, job development
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Employment specialists assist individuals with disabilities in obtaining and maintaining employment, but the majority of practitioners only utilize techniques, tools, and avenues established in specific research domains from over 20 years ago. New technologies, such as social media, are powerful tools employment specialists can utilize to assist individuals with disabilities seeking employment. OBJECTIVE: This article provides context for why including social media into practice is important, what social media is, opportunities it can provide, and what social media platforms are best for employment specialists to use. This article explores how employment specialists can use Facebook, Twitter, and…LinkedIn to find new opportunities, expand professional networks, and incorporate social media use into standard practices. CONCLUSION: Social media is a powerful tool used extensively in talent recruitment. Supported employment professionals can use the identified strategies to help individuals with disabilities access employment opportunities in an increasingly digital world.