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Title:An investigation of career patterns of transition-age youths and older workers
Author(s):Luft, Pamela Jean
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Rusch, Frank R.
Department / Program:Education
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Education, Special
Sociology, Individual and Family Studies
Education, Vocational
Abstract:Persons with disabilities separate from employment positions for a variety of different reasons. The conditions and reasons for these separations have been the subject of a number of investigations in an effort to understand and improve job tenure. Early studies tended to frame this research in terms of deficits and situations created by the employee that led to his or her being terminated. Later studies took a more balanced view of separations by including reasons beyond the employee's control (for example, transportation problems or moving) and positive reasons, such as promotions or finding a better job. None of these studies, however, framed their research with regard to theoretical contributions made from work done in career development, occupational choice, or work adjustment.
The purpose of this investigation was to examine the career development of persons with disabilities that are revealed by patterns of job separations. These patterns were compared to what is known about career development for persons without disabilities in terms of Super's life-span, life-space model (Super, 1984, 1990). An earlier investigation indicated that age was a significant predictor of job separation (Luft & Rusch, 1994). Neither individual demographic characteristics (disability, ethnicity, and gender) nor job placement variables (job type, job placement, and previous work or training placement) were significant predictors in this analysis. The present investigation sought to examine this model when calculating age as a continuous variable and by including additional individual, employer, and agency variables. These variables were from an extant database of information collected over a five-year period on supported employees within a midwestern state.
Results showed that age was a significant predictor of job separations in the last and most parsimonious regression model consisting of eight variables. Other significant predictors included categories of primary disability, year of entry into the supported employment program (1985-1990), number of hours worked per month, vocational aptitude, and the average job separation of supported employees within an agency. In general, results were not definitive and did not confirm that individuals with disabilities follow patterns of career development patterns that are similar to individuals without disabilities. However, trends for job separations across age groups, although not statistically significant, continue to suggest that some similarities in career patterns do exist and that separations become increasingly positive (i.e., "promotions") as workers get older (cf. Luft & Rusch, 1994).
A number of historical conditions potentially impacted the strength of the results of this investigation: the newness of supported employment programs which resulted in the very recent entry of most of the sample into the community workforce regardless of their age, and the instability of the size of several disability groups which reflected changes in definitions of disabilities as well as changes in subsequent school and adult services. These conditions reemphasized the relative recency of many of the current services for persons with disabilities and consequently, modified this study into an exploratory investigation into career development patterns. A more definitive investigation and description of career development patterns may need to wait until the majority of persons with disabilities are consistent and regular working members of the community.
Issue Date:1995
Rights Information:Copyright 1995 Luft, Pamela Jean
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9543658
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9543658

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