Article Details

Research Database: Article Details

Citation:  Inge, Katherine J.; Bogenschutz, Matthew D.; Erickson, Doug; Graham, Carolyn W.; Wehman, Paul; Seward, Hannah (2018). Barriers and facilitators to employment: As Reported by Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries. Journal of Rehabilitation, 84 (2), 22-32.
Title:  Barriers and facilitators to employment: As Reported by Individuals with Spinal Cord Injuries
Authors:  Inge, Katherine J.; Bogenschutz, Matthew D.; Erickson, Doug; Graham, Carolyn W.; Wehman, Paul; Seward, Hannah
Year:  2018
Journal/Publication:  Journal of Rehabilitation
Publisher: 
Full text: 
Peer-reviewed?  Yes
NIDILRR-funded?  Not reported

Structured abstract:

Background:  The employment rate for individuals with disabilities was 17.5% in 2015 and those with spinal cord injuries (SCI) reveals that only 12% gain employment one year after injury. Factors for employment are the type of injury, education, retention of benefits, and supports leading to employment. Further access to vocational rehabilitation services and VR supports is a critical factor in acquiring employment. Even so, only 31% of SCI individuals between the ages of 25 and 64 gain employment even after VR services.
Purpose:  The study asked a number of questions about employment of people with physical disabilities involving a primary mobility and/or dexterity/manipulation impairment. Using focus groups and a variety of questions, researchers asked what factors prevented positive employment outcomes among this groups of individuals.
Study sample:  Using information from national organizations representing people with disabilities, an email was sent through these organizations asking for participants in this study. Criterion included SCI individuals with physical disabilities in the age range of 18-64, those who were either unemployed or employed, and those willing to participate in an hour-long telephone focus group. Participants resided in all 50 states, 73% were Caucasian, 50% male and female.
Data collection and analysis:  Using information from national organizations representing people with disabilities, an email was sent through these organizations asking for participants in this study. Criterion included SCI individuals with physical disabilities in the age range of 18-64, those who were either unemployed or employed, and those willing to participate in an hour-long telephone focus group. Participants resided in all 50 states, 73% were Caucasian, 50% male and female. The group included 44 individuals who self-identified at having SCI. 23 individuals were employed and 21 were not. Telephone interviews were scheduled via email. Six focus groups were established and there were four toll-free teleconferences lasting 90 minutes. 12 questions were established and participants responded to those questions.
Findings:  Using transcribed narratives from the focus groups, the research revealed four facilitators of employment and three barriers to employment. Facilitators of employment included self-advocacy, proper training, networking with family and community, as well as having supports in place for employment. Barriers to employment included transportation difficulties, accommodations in the workplace, and discrimination by employers. Further, focus groups talked about knowing about benefits eligibility for participants, workplace rights and failure to make accommodations for SCI employees.
Conclusions:  The study was the first in a multi-phase research study on implementing knowledge transition (KT) strategies. Extending knowledge about the barriers and facilitators to employment is a goal for these studies and overcoming barriers to successful employment.

Disabilities served:  Spinal cord injury (SCI)
Populations served:  Other
Interventions:  Accommodations
Career counseling
Rehabilitation counseling
Supported employment
Vocational rehabilitation
Outcomes:  Employment acquisition
Full-time employment