02 SES 09 B, The Contribution of on the Job Trainers
Aside from providing for a means towards independent living, the employment setting allows for the formation of meaningful friendships and community participation (Rusch & Millar, 1998).
Despite numerous employment initiatives, disabled people are significantly more likely to experience unemployment and consequentially, reduced economic and social well being and a diminished quality of life (Gilbride & Stensrud, 2008). A growing literature base suggests the need for positive interventions to help disabled individuals improve their skills. Lack of effective skills may hinder an individual’s ability to gain and maintain successful employment and to live independently (Green et al., 2011).
For employees with intellectual disabilities, the majority of accommodations related to support from the job coach or employment specialist. A job coaches is known by several professional titles such as staffing specialist, employment specialist, job trainer. He may come from a different backgrounds like rehabilitation, teaching or business and be responsible for assisting a disabled individual in searching and obtaining a job by creating a positive job match, maintaining a job through on site assistance such as facilitating communication with the employer during hiring or on the job (McDowell & Fossey, 2014; Verhoef et al., 2014; Hwang & Roulstone, 2015).
The literature emphasizes some important issues. A substantial body of research has focused on strategies for teaching employment skills to individuals with intellectual disability as systematic instruction, antecedent prompts (eg picture) or video self modeling (Test & Mazzotti, 2011; Goch & Mambara, 2013; Corbiere, 2012; Pachoud & Corbière, 2014; Wallace et al., 2014; Hagner et al., 2014, Dowrik et al., 2014). Another series of studies analyzes the time of the job interview that is an important step toward successful employment and often a significant challenge for disabled people (Bell & Weinstein 2011; Pachoud & Allemand, 2013). Few investigations address the importance of the communication and collaboration between physicians in primary health care, occupational health services, job coaches and employers (Franche et al., 2005). A series of study investigates the perceptions of persons with intellectual disability receiving support and the persons providing support regarding the autonomy of people with intellectual disabilities and how they perceive that it is either supported or denied within daily interactions between job coach and disabled people. (Petner‐Arrey & Copeland, 2015;Akkerman et al., 2014 ). Finally, an interesting but rarely investigated field is job coach competencies, attitudes, behaviors and knowledge—recognized as important for assisting workers with intellectual disabilities (Bond et al., 2012; Corbiere et al, 2014; Corbière & Lanctôt, 2011).
Despite these numerous studies future research should address the implementation and effectiveness of workplace accommodations (McDowell & Fossey, 2014). Our research aims to identify which is the role of the job coaches for workers with intellectual disabilities. Focusing on a sample of small and medium Italian enterprises, we interviewed job coaches, employers and disabled employees and examined which types of strategies can be introduced by job coaches. Moreover, through the analysis of eight case studies we classified the key methods used to interact with workers and employers.
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