Thesis

The effects of supported employment during a school to work transition for students with moderate and severe disabilities

To further understand the perspectives of students with disabilities who were part of a public school transition program, the researcher interviewed 15 student, 8 women and 7 men, between the ages of 18 and 22 regarding the supported employment experiences provided through their transition program. Four of the participants were exiting from the program the year the study was conducted. Interviews yielded quantitative and qualitative data analyzed by the researcher. Results suggested that study participants were satisfied with their job placements, were aware of their job abilities and independent skills, and had an idea ofwhat type of job they would like in the future. The four participants exiting the program were asked additional questions regarding agency connection and future job placement. Three of the four exiting participants were connected with an agency for post-school job placements. The relationship between the number of hours worked at a supported employment job site and future job placement also was examined. A positive relationship between the two was found for the study's participants; namely, the more hours of supported employment, the better prospects of future job placement. Overall, results reinforce the benefit of supported employment and transition planning in fostering successful post-school employment outcomes for adults with disabilities and a need for students' post-school employment options to be in place at least a year before exiting for a seamless transition from one placement to the next. KEY WORDS: special education, supported employment, transition planning

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