Changes in Employment Skills and Quality of Life for Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities During Transition from Pre-Employment to Cooperative Employment
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Persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities are usually excluded from vocational training and education, and employment opportunities. While a variety of postsecondary opportunities do exist for persons with intellectual and developmental disabilities to receive vocational training and education and to be employed, there is no guarantee that these opportunities will lead to an increase in quality of life and benefits to the individual. This study builds on the findings of previous studies (Bishop, 2013; Owen, Li, et al., 2015; Owen, Readhead, et al., 2015; Readhead, 2012) and explored the impact on job skill development and quality of life for individuals participating in the training program for a social enterprise. Six students with a developmental disability from the training program were interviewed three times across the course of their training and entry to the partnership. They were divided into two cohorts based on when they started the program. The Quality of Life Instrumentation Package (Renwick & Myerscough, 2012), the Job Observation and Behavior Scale (Rosenberg & Brady, 2000), the JOBS: Opportunities for Self Determination (Brady, Rosenberg, & Frain, 2006), and a semi-structured interview were administered to the participants. The scores and the narratives provided as part of the interview were analyzed for changes. Scores on both measures did not reveal a trend indicating a change in quality of life or job skill development; however, analysis of the narratives indicated changes in both quality of life and job skills. Furthermore, participants described changes in self-determination and the limitations of participating in work. These findings are discussed in terms of previous research completed with Common Ground Co- operative, the limitations of the selected instruments and procedures; and considerations for future research regarding the impact of social enterprises on quality of life.