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Only 22 of working-age African Americans with disabilities are employed or seeking employment only 16 are actually working. In this country, employment is a critical determinant of quality of life. Therefore, efforts to identify factors that contribute to successful employment are warranted. This is the aim of chapter 4. The author reviews some of the research she and colleagues have conducted on this important topic. The findings from this research identify several predictors of successful employment outcomes. Recommendations for improving employment outcomes are offered.
African Americans with chronic illnesses and disabilities face a formidable challenge in the employment arena. Only 22 of working-age (persons aged 16 to 64) African Americans with disabilities are in the labor force (i.e., employed or seeking employment), and only 16 are actually working (Bowe, 1985, 1991 Alston & Mngadi, 1992). This leaves the vast majority not working or seeking work. While some persons cannot work because of the limitations of a chronic illness or disability, most want to work and in fact have the ability to work productively.
For some couples, skin disease brings new responsibilities into a relationship and this may be taxing if traditional gender roles become unbalanced (Danoff-Burg & Revenson, 2000). For example, in one affected couple, a wife had to seek employment when her husband was unable to continue his job at a dry cleaner because the steam and chemicals aggravated his eczema. Functional limitations may also lead to changes in a couple's leisure activities for instance, patients with psoriasis receiving psoralen plus ultraviolet light (PUVA) treatment often sacrifice holidays in the sun. If, for the sake of the relationship, partners also forgo valued activities, they too are in danger of becoming isolated through their own loss of freedom. Firstly, by missing out on social interactions that were previously shared and
Group intervention, it is important that group members understand that they are responsible for individually and collectively meeting the group's goals. Members are responsible for each other's accomplishments as well as each other's failures. With this orientation, the joy of one member obtaining employment is shared by all members. The disappointment of one member not getting a desired job is experienced within the supportive environment of the group.
Members should be encouraged to jot down ideas and keep a written journal of what happens in the group. It is also helpful to have each group member keep a log or a journal of relevant activities and events that may occur outside the group. The journal might include notations of their feelings about certain activities, progress they have made in accomplishing their goals, and their evaluation of the group process. If one of the group objectives is to find employment, an employment log of activities directed at seeking employment, outcomes, and reactions to efforts should be useful.
Since a desired group outcome was employment, many of the activities were directed at helping participants develop skills and identify resources to find employment. While the temporal sequencing of sessions and activities are not fixed, activities were generally designed to build upon what was developed earlier. An outline of the objectives and illustrative activities and exercises are discussed for seven sessions.
Another exercise we used allowed members to apply what has been learned to employment efforts. In a group discussion, members are asked to share their techniques and resources for finding employment. A list can be developed. This provides members with an opportunity to be supportive to each other by sharing any resources or job leads they might have.
There were twelve participants and two facilitators in this group. All participants were African American and had a disability. Both facilitators were African American, and one of the facilitators had a physical disability. Group members differed in some personal characteristics however, the intervention was based on the assumption that there were some perceived similarity and common interests and values. To this end, although group members differed in type of disability, gender, and age, there were several similarities. They were all consumers of Rehabilitation Services Administration. They were all unemployed and seeking work and all were within a working-age range (i.e., less than 55). They were all African American and all lived in the same section of the city. Importantly they all came together with a common goal of finding employment.
Put another way, women prisoners tend to have a social capital deficit. That is, women, and especially women from low socioeconomic standing, and even more especially those with young children, are not tied into the information systems that help an individual acquire skills and knowledge, networks which help in finding employment, and contacts for financial assistance. All too often they return to the community with the same lack of resources they had before, but now they have a prison record (Reisig, Holtfreter, & Morash, 2002).
The fact that so many released prisoners receive no prerelease preparation further supports the creation of written discharge materials, because a pamphlet or a comprehensive resource guide may be the only information on which they can rely. The parallels to the medical field are surprisingly similar. Makaryus and Friedman (2005) note that after being carefully supervised in the hospital, patients at discharge assume the former responsibilities of the health care team for their own health care (p. 991). The same can be said for the majority of inmates. However, unlike most patients, inmates must also start from the beginning in finding employment, housing, food, clothing and the development of strong social networks to increase their chance of succeeding in the community. Many times the inmate's family is not there to support him, having given up on the inmate for his past transgressions. The inmate is in a situation where with limited help he has to locate and obtain identification,...
Consider, John, who has been working with his counselor and has identified obtaining employment as his most important goal. In reviewing John's work history, his counselor learns that John has attempted several jobs in the past and has lost each of them because he missed too many days of work. His missed days always followed nights out drinking with his friends. John's counselor asks if John thinks his drinking is an obstacle to reaching his goal of employment. John does not think so but admits it sometimes gets him into trouble.
The best-defined examples of the individual placement model for people with mental illness are the individual placement and support approach (IPS) articulated by the New Hampshire-Dartmouth Psychiatric Research Center (Becker & Drake, 1994, 2003) and the Choose-Get-Keep approach articulated by Boston University Center for Psychiatric Rehabilitation (Danley & Anthony, 1987 Danley, Sciarappa, & MacDonald-Wilson, 1992 MacDonald-Wilson, Mancuso, Danley, & Anthony, 1989). Both of these approaches emphasize competitive employment based on the preferences of the individual and the importance of ongoing support. The IPS approach further emphasizes rapid job search and the integration of vocational and clinical services, whereas the Choose-Get-Keep approach provides skill development in career planning activities. Although the two approaches have many similarities, which are described here, research has consistently found the IPS approach to be superior in achieving employment outcomes (Bond,...
Tasks (i.e., where there is a job opening). Supportive others can provide material resources (i.e., transportation to an interview appointment or child-care assistance). Finally, supportive others can provide affirmation of one's worth and competence especially during stressful times. Such affirmation is critical to continuing goal-directive behaviors, especially following periods of failure.
In some cases, the job coach or employment specialist will teach the skills of job acquisition and the clients will do the actual tasks of job development themselves. Many clients prefer not to disclose their disabilities to potential employers and so prefer to do their own job development. In other cases clients need more direct support in this area, and the job coach will be more directly involved in contacting the employer, presenting the candidate's qualifications, and perhaps even accompanying the client to the job interview. The job coach also assists in the other tasks of job acquisition such as resume preparation and practicing interviewing. According to Becker and Drake (1994), job development strategies include time spent on the part of the job coach getting to know the particular operations, needs, and hiring practices of potential employers tapping into personal networks for job leads and creating jobs where a task and setting match the skills and interests of a client but...
When older adults reenter the community, finding employment can be difficult due to their age, especially if they used to work as hard laborers. The stigma of incarceration is a substantial barrier to a smooth reintegration into the community. In addition, job prospects may be further limited by educational attainment studies show that fewer older probationers have completed high school or a GED than their younger counterparts (Aday, 2003). Also, after being in prison for many years and possibly for the majority of their lives, older adults many have acquired very few independent living skills such as cooking, shopping, and balancing a checkbook and would benefit from community placement orientation before release (Aday, 2003 Crawley & Sparks, 2006 Terhune et al., 1999).
Possibly resulting in depression and isolation. Furthermore, job opportunities are often limited for people who cannot communicate effectively. Thus, they may have trouble leading independent, satisfying lives. Emotional problems may develop in people who exhibit speech disorders as a result of embarrassment, rejection, or poor self-image. Finally, learning is difficult and frustrating for people with speech disorders. As a consequence, their performance and progress at school and on the job can suffer.
The Ticket to Work is a voluntary initiative. Each eligible SSI and SSDI recipient is issued a document called a ticket to work. The ticket holder can use the ticket to obtain employment services from any approved employment service provider known as an employment network (EN). An EN may be a public or private service provider, a state organization such as VR or One-Stop Centers, schools, employers, or others (Jensen & Silverstein, n.d. Roessler, 2002). In principle, the ticket holder gains a measure of control and choice in selecting services because he or she can withdraw the ticket and reassign it to another EN if he or she is dissatisfied with the services being provided. An additional benefit to the ticket holder is that while using a ticket he or she will not be subject to continuing disability reviews by Social Security. Payments to the EN are based on the ticket holders' reduced cash benefits due to earned income.
The dissolution of the feudal system and the consequent transition to parliamentary democracy and capitalism provided the average individual with a historically unprecedented amount of freedom from external constraints. Physical mobility increased dramatically as the descendants of serfs were able to migrate freely to cities to seek employment of their choosing however, according to Fromm, increased freedom from external constraints was acquired at the expense of the circumstances necessary for freedom to maximize individual potential through productive work and productive love.
African Americans with disabilities are likely to be single. Sixty-one percent of males and 71 of females are not married. About 27 of males and 43 of females have less than 12 years of formal education. Lack of education contributes to inability to obtain employment. Low levels of education and unemployment naturally exacerbate a cycle of poverty. Forty-one percent of African Americans with a disability live on or below poverty income (Walker et al., 1996). These statistics indicate
A job club provides the structure and resources necessary to assist participants to conduct their own job search. The club provides training and resources, such as instruction in job-seeking skills (resume writing, interviewing, etc.), access to telephones to call employers, and clerical support (McGurrin, 1994). An important feature that the job club supplies its members is peer support. This unique approach to job development may be less successful for many people with severe mental illness. Many individuals need a greater level of support in accomplishing the tasks of job acquisition (Bond, Drake, Mueser, & Becker, 1997).
Once participants have been recruited into the group, efforts must be made to maintain initial levels of enthusiasm and retain participants. During the first session, the expectations of group members should be addressed. For example, during our first session, some members had come believing the program would find them jobs. Here, it was important for participants to understand our program was not a job-search service, but a support group that would help them to develop the skills and access the resources they could then use to find employment. If members' expectations are not addressed early and specifically, disillusion and disappointments are likely to undermine their (and others) progress in the group. In cases where there is no compromise regarding group expectations, it may be better for the member to leave the group. Participant incentives may also encourage regular attendance. In our groups, participants were given certificates if they attended all or most sessions. These...
A discussion of how being African American affects employment opportunities may also be helpful during this session. For example, some participants in our groups felt African Americans were at a disadvantage in the employment arena because of racism and discrimination. However, other participants felt that because African Americans are flexible, they can adapt to whatever situation. It may be useful for the facilitator to acknowledge discrimination based on ethnicity and disability, but to redirect the participant to think about how he or she can empower him or herself. A related activity is to have group members identify those aspects of the African American culture that may help or hinder their opportunities to find a job. For example, African Americans may use time differently from White Americans. The phrase CP, or colored people's, time may be a cultural norm. However, lack of attention to present time may cause the person to lose the job if he or she does not show up for an...
Once a goal has been specified, smaller subgoals should be delineated. The goal of many members in our group was to obtain employment. Therefore, several smaller goals had to be realized before the employment goal could be met. For example, a subgoal might be as simple as scheduling rehabilitation and medical appointments at the appropriate time period. A second subgoal might be to learn how to use public transportation to get to these appointments. A more complex long-term goal might be to find suitable employment. Each of these small goals will need to be met before the larger one can be achieved.
One does not always have to be personally involved in practice and guided mastery of tasks to develop self-efficacy. Modeling is another mechanism for increasing self-efficacy. Social modeling involves observing others engaged in the desired behaviors. When seeking employment, we can observe and learn from others how to read an employment ad, how to use public transportation, and how to act on an interview. Another consideration for African Americans is that the model be someone with similar values and worldview. As discussed in chapter 3, cultural values such as interdependence, communalism, and spirituality are important to many African Americans and may be useful as criteria for selecting models. In this setting, perceived similarity and the relationship one has with the model may be as important a consideration as technical expertise. Here, for example, having a model demonstrate what she did to seek employment may be more effective than having an employment counselor provide...
Oftentimes, people engage in desired behaviors because they are persuaded to or told to by someone who has influence over them. This influence can be based on respect, liking, or power from the other person. Thus persuasion is another mechanism for increasing self-efficacy. Persuasion occurs when one person influences another to think or behave in a certain manner. Persuasion can be accomplished by providing knowledge and information in areas where knowledge and information may be needed to accomplish a goal. For example, telling the individual where there are job openings and requesting that they go and check them out is persuasion. As with modeling, persuasion will be more effective if there is similarity between the persuader and the person who is persuaded. Persuasion, like modeling, is also more effective when mutual respect and liking between the persuader and the persuaded exist. When a person changes his behavior because he likes and respects the persuader, behavioral change...
Lewin's life was affected by anti-Semitism on the professional as well as the personal level. The close and affectionate bond that he had with his parents is reflected in the fact that they continued to support him financially as well as emotionally when he changed his course of study from medicine to philosophy of science and psychology. The reason that their approval was significant is that Lewin was risking his future employment by preparing for a university professorship. Although he would have had no difficulty in finding work as a country doctor, he faced the same strong discrimination against Jews in the German universities that Freud had confronted. Lewin's parents knew that his chances of obtaining a full professorship with a decent salary were very low nevertheless they supported their son's decision.
Another Termite who eventually made a name for himself was Edward Dmytryk. At age 14, Edward was picked up by the authorities as a runaway. He had reportedly left home to escape an abusive father, who was said to have torn up his schoolbooks and clubbed him with a board. The father wanted Edward returned, although a caseworker suspected that this might have been only because Edward brought home income. Terman wrote a letter to the authorities on Edward's