What is it about?

We conducted a small pilot study, using first-person accounts, which supports the importance of consumer-led input into long-term support programs and the importance of customized employment programs in state vocational rehabilitation. Considering the ambiguity expressed by the participants, customized employment may be a viable solution to reduce load on agencies and increase participation in Federal programs. From a policy perspective, this study illustrates the value of small pilot studies and first-person accounts to determine participants’ ability to understand complex activities and to decide to act. It also reinforces the importance of consumer-led input into long-term support programs. We also offer recommendations on how rehabilitation professionals may reframe disability to reduce stigma, address re-entry concerns, and help individuals with disabilities navigate ‘tickets’ in their return to work, with a focus on the value of consumer input.

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Why is it important?

If an inclusive society is our goal, then negative societal and workplace attitudes, functional limitations due to disability, lack of employable skills, and navigating numerous complex and cumbersome systems are everyday challenges that must be addressed, discussed, accommodated, and resolved in an individual’s quest to become employed. In addition to emphasizing the importance of consumer feedback in program design and implementation, we also describe Florida's vocational rehabilitation initiative to integrate the customized employment strategies and the Discovery process as an example for better alignment of employment opportunities with the job seeker's interests, talents, and conditions for employment.

Perspectives

What we do know from the growing body of literature on disability and employment is that persons with disabilities want to work. To do so, they need tailored, unambiguous interventions to help them find work that is uniquely suited for them, and employment they can sustain. So, the larger policy question, for us, is how can we remove the barriers hindering the realization of the legislative intent of Federal and state laws.

Ardis Hanson
University of South Florida

Read the Original

This page is a summary of: Ticket utilization and implementation: Investigating use patterns of the Ticket to Work program from the consumer’s perspective, Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, June 2019, IOS Press, DOI: 10.3233/jvr-191029.
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