04 SES 03 B, Disability, Study Skills and Transition To Employment
Nowadays, young adults enter the job market through long, precarious and contextualized pathways, and processes of socialization at work become recursive, discontinuous and fragmented (Lodigiani, 2010).
For this reason young adults’ employability has become one of the crucial issues in both social and scientific debates not only for disabled people but for all (Grimaldi,2017)
Employability concerns three main areas of intervention: guidance,training and work, which are strictly interwowen, in the process of inclusion into the job market.
These areas of intervention are particularly challenged when this process involves young adults with any kind of disability.
The Lisbon Memorandum (2000) states that "For most people and for most of their , independence, self-esteem and well-being are associated with paid employment, which is therefore a crucial factor in their quality of life, and employability, that is to say, the ability to find and keep a job, is therefore an essential dimension of active citizenship, but it is also the key to achieving full employment, improving Europe's competitiveness and ensuring its prosperity in the "new economy" (EU, 2000, p.6) As regards people with disabilities, "(...) they require the same opportunities for access to social resources, such as work, school and vocational education, training in new technologies, social and health (Lisbon Memorandum,2000).
Due to the persistence of stereotypes and stigmas, as well as the absence of a real political and systemic commitment to apply and enforce the disability regulations, the opportunities for young people with disabilities to enter the job market are extremely reduced and depend strongly on the resources available.
Harris, Jones, and their collaborators (2010) recognize the importance of considering, in the transition to adult and professional life of young adults with disabilities, their functional and cognitive characteristics, their individual goals, and their potential in the school and professional setting. However, a study by Carter, Austin, and Trainor (2012) indicates that these young people generally often leave high school without the skills, experiences, and supports that lead to meaningful employment.
It is therefore necessary to support disabled students taking into account their resources and their capacity to use them, which characterize an individual “employability potential” , together with the different contextual conditions they are involved in.
In order to do so it could be useful to investigate the attitudes, feelings, perceptions and self-perceptions, representations of young adults with different kinds of disability towards the occupational opportunities they see within a specific context and their capacity to be engaged into a professional project.
This investigation should be made focusing on a specific context in order to highlight the specific contextual and territorial influences on individual thought and feelings.
For our research, we have focused on a specific regional area in southern Italy (Campania).
Primary research questions
What is the employability potential of young adults (aged 18-30) with different disabilities within the regional context of Campania?
Is there a difference in the employability potential among graduate and undergraduate?
To what exent gender differences impact on employability potential?
Are there any significant differences in the employability potential in relation to the condition of disability?
Are there significant differences in the employability potential in relation to the current condition / position of the individuals? (employed/not employed)
Secondary emerging research question
What are the individual and contextual elements that characterize the story and the professional project of young disabled workers in Campania?
We have chosen to use a descriptive research design in order to investigate the attitudes, feelings, perceptions and self-perceptions, representations of 200 young adults (18-30 years old) with different kinds of disability living in Campania, selected through a snowball sampling procedure. In particular we have measured the employability potential of the sample in order to understand in which area of intevention they could be supported. In order to deepen our understanding of we have further selected and interviewed 20 young adults in order to identify the resources they have mobilized and the facilitators used to support their functioning in order to be included in a working context. In order to measure the employability potential of our sample we have used a validated tool, the AVO youth questionnaire by INAPP (Grimaldi, Porcelli, Rossi, 2015). The questionnaire operationalizes the employability model defined by INAPP as the interweaving of the human, social and psychological capital of the person - mediated by the situational variables - which enables the individual to enter in the job-market with a professional project adhering to the context (Grimaldi, Porcelli, Rossi, 2015). . The Avo questionnaire produces a single synthetic index. This index, combined and connected to a series of descriptive and / or structural variables referred to the individual curriculum and to the analysis of the territorial context,The data collected with the AVO questionnaire have been analyzed with the software SPSS for descriptive data analysis. In order to explore in depth, the story and professional project of 20 young disabled people engaged in working experiences we have used semi-structured interviews costructed according to a bio-psycho-social matrix modelled on the International Classification of Functional Disability and Health (WHO, 2001) in order to gather information on the bio-psycho-social functioning and on the facilitators and obstacles encountered by each individual. The data collected through the interviews have been analyzed with the software NVIVO (Richards, 1999). , whose epistemological and methodological reference is Grounded Theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1967).
The 200 young people with disabilities who participated in the study have a medium-low employability potential and report significant difficulties in designing their career plans. Moreover, there are some relevant differences for what concerns the various dimensions wich compose the employability index. There isn’ t relevant difference in the employability potential among graduate and undergraduate . Is the same for the gender differences impact on employability potential and the employability potential in relation to the current condition / position of the individuals (employed/not employed Moreover there any significant differences in the employability potential in relation to the condition of disability.. The context seems also to have a significant impact on the opportunities and the resources that young disabled adults refer to in heading towards the realization of a professional project. The 20 young adults engaged in professional activities interviewed have described their professional project as the outcome of a continuous process of negotiation and “reorientation between resources and barriers” which shows how the design and development of a professional career for a disabled young adult is strongly determined by the capacity to cope with personal and contextual elements in order to achieve a satisfactory functioning within a working context. In conclusion,the research results show how young disabled adults living in Campania require to be supported in the development of their employability potential with interventions that should be focused in particular on the guidance area more than on the training or work ones, using dedicated and tailor made pathways and tools aimed at supporting their capacity to design their own life and professional project in a more inclusive way taking into account the resources available and the contextual barriers .
Carter E.W., Austin D., Trainor A.A. (2012), Predictors of Postschool Employment Outcomes for Young Adults with Severe Disabilities, «Journal of Disability Police Studies», 23, 27-5 Glaser B.G and Strauss A.L. (1967), The Discovery of Grounded Theory: Strategies for Qualitative Research, Aldine Publishing Company, Chicago. Harris, S.P., Owen, R., Jones, R. and Caldwell, K. (2013). Does Workfare Policy in the United States Promote the rights of People with Disabilities? Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 39, pp. 61-73. Lodigiani R. (2005), I nuovi termini della socializzazione (alla cittadinanza) lavorativa, «Sociologia del lavoro», 117, 59-72. Richards L. (1999), Using NVivo in Qualitative Research, Sage, London. Grimaldi, A. (2017). Percorso di sviluppo delle competenze per l’Occupazione. Centro Italiano Opere Femminili Salesiane Formazione Professionale, 1, 12-17. Grimaldi A., Rossi A., Porcelli R., Silvi E.,Boschi M.A. (2015) Il questionario Avo. Uno studio di validazione. In Osservatorio Isfol n. 4/2015; pp. 173-203. W.H.O. (1980), International Classification of Impairments, Disabilities, and Handicaps, Geneva: World Health Organization
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