Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Migliore, Alberto; Lyons, Oliver; Butterworth, John; Nye-Lengerman, Kelly; Bose, Jennifer (2018). A Model of Employment Supports for Job Seekers with Intellectual Disabilities. Journal of Rehabilitation, 84 (2), 3-13.
Title:  A Model of Employment Supports for Job Seekers with Intellectual Disabilities
Authors:  Migliore, Alberto; Lyons, Oliver; Butterworth, John; Nye-Lengerman, Kelly; Bose, Jennifer
Year:  2018
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Rehabilitation
Full text: 
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  Individuals with cognitive disabilities face very low employment rates relative to the general population (24% vs 78%). Policies at the federal and state levels provide policies that encourage employment. At the same time, employment rates remain low. Establishing a model for support services for these individuals can improve employment outcomes.
Purpose:  Effective employment strategies exist and are not implemented with fidelity for individuals with cognitive disabilities. This study examines possible strategies for improving employment outcomes by both organizing knowledge about various strategies and establishing a clear, defined model for implementation. The main research question was: What employment support practices are recommended for supporting job seekers with intellectual and developmental disabilities in gaining paid individual employment, and how do these practices connect with each other in a comprehensive model of support?
Study sample:  After an initial call for nominations for employment consultants, 16 employment consultants were identified and represented the most diverse background matching job seekers needs. These consultants operate in rural, suburban, and urban settings, and have provided services for at least five years. These individuals ranged in age from 26 to 52 years of age. The job seekers included eight adults with intellectual disabilities, five with autism, and one adult with other developmental disabilities. The ages of the job seekers were between 22 and 52 years of age. Current and past employment of these job seekers ranged widely between no experience to five years of work experience.
Data collection and analysis:  All employment consultants underwent an interview process with 15 open-ended questions. These interviews lasted about an hour. Questions included how the consultants approached getting to know job seekers and the most effective strategies used to help seekers gain employment. A set of 13 codes were established to measure the effectiveness of the consulting model.
Findings:  After the interviews and conversations, the participants in the study agreed to a model of support with five elements and goals. These elements included: identifying the job match, building trust, getting to know the job seeker’s interests, finding jobs, and support for a “smooth” job entry. Further, support after hire was deemed especially important in helping these individuals maintain employment. These supports aligned with existing models and extended those models by including intentional support planning prior to job placement. Of particular significance was getting to know job seekers’ strengths and interests in employment. In addition, improving social skills and finding tasks or jobs that align with job seekers interests helped ensure a good fit between the seeker and the employer.
Conclusions:  Based on the study, five elements of successful employment included: building trust, getting to know the job seeker, arranging for supports planning, finding appropriate task/jobs, circling back to adjust supports, and providing support after hire. Each of these steps led to successful employment for job seekers. Essential in the process for improving employment outcomes is the involvement of employment consultants. A model of support was developed and implemented for job seekers. Ensuring that employment consultants have the tools necessary for successful implementation of this model is critical.

Disabilities served:  Autism / ASD
Multiple disabilities
Populations served:  Rural and remote communities
Transition-age youth (14 - 24)
Persons with multiple disabilities (e.g., deaf-blindness, HIV/AIDS, substance abuse)
Interventions:  Career counseling
Individual Placement and Support (IPS) model of supported employment
Job coach
Non-psychological counseling
Supported employment
Transition services
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Full-time employment
Increase in number of months of employment