Perspectives of Vocational Rehabilitation Counselors on the Factors Related to Employment Outcomes of Racial and Ethnic Minorities with Disabilities
journal contributionposted on 09.03.2012, 00:00 by Fabricio E. Balcazar, Tina Taylor-Ritzler
The current study was conducted to identify effective strategies to promote employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities from diverse cultural backgrounds within the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) system. Twenty one “excellent or very good” VR counselors, who were nominated by their supervisors, participated in semi-structured qualitative interviews. Participants were 15 females and 6 males, with an average of 17 years of experience in the VR system. The participants identified five themes: (1) an empowerment approach to case management; (2) the importance of developing successful counseling relationships; (3) supports provided to help consumers adjust to or cope with their disability; (4) supports provided to assist individuals with disabilities to develop or refine skills to obtain and maintain employment; and (5) supports provided to assist employers in understanding the benefits of employing individuals with disabilities in general, and accommodating the needs of specific individuals with disabilities. Effective counselors must be flexible, provide additional supports to their clients in specific circumstances and/or challenge them when needed, and more importantly, help clients find ways to overcome and be productive on the job with the necessary accommodations and/or assistive technology.