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Alston, R. J., Bell, T., & Hampton, J. (2002). Learning disability and career entry into the sciences: A critical analysis of attitudinal factors. Journal of Career Development, 28(4), 263–275.

This study explores perceptions and attitudes held by parents and teachers of students with learning disabilities (LD) about the students’ ability to succeed in science and engineering fields. The authors express concern that students with LD are being “weeded out” of science and engineering majors, largely due to a lack of accurate information about learning disabilities among parents, teachers, counselors, and potential employers. Misperceptions are often exacerbated by the lack of a standard definition of learning disabilities. Moreover, many parents believe that teachers are unwilling to provide accommodations, while many teachers believe that students with LD will lack adequate academic preparation. Many parents, and to a lesser extent, teachers, also believe that employers in these fields will be less likely to hire students with LD upon graduation. The article concludes with specific recommendations for guidance counselors to address these issues. They call for partnerships between guidance counselors and individuals with disabilities who are successful in these fields, to provide workshops for parents, teachers, and potential employers of students with LD. They also suggest that vocational rehabilitation counselors partner more closely with potential employers to provide job shadowing and internship opportunities.

 

Flores, L. Y., & Heppner, M. J. (2002). Multicultural career counseling: Ten essentials for training. Journal of Career Development, 28(3), 181–202.

This article includes a review of career guidance issues for students of color and provides resources and strategies for improving cultural competency of career guidance counselors. It notes that “underutilization” of career services by students of color may be linked to “poorly trained career counselors and culturally biased practices and techniques” (Atkinson, Jennings, & Liongson, 1990, p. 182; Leong, Wagner, & Tata, 1995). The authors critique Eurocentric tenets framing the theory, research, and practice of career counseling, and call for a more inclusive and accurate re-conceptualization. “These tenets include (a) individualism and autonomy, (b) affluence, (c) the structure of opportunity being open to all, (d) the centrality of work in people’s lives, and (e) the linearity, progressiveness, and rationality of the career development process” (Atkinson et al., 1990, p. 182). In addition to cultural competencies regarding career-specific behaviors and practices, the authors underscore the importance of understanding racial identity development and acculturation as they relate to career choices. Although the primary audience of the article is vocational counseling professionals and those who train them, both the critique and the recommended strategies provide important insights into key needs, issues, and rights for students of color with and without disabilities.

 

Gates, L. (2000). Workplace accommodation as a social process. Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation, 10(1), 85–98.

This article explores social and relational factors in the workplace as key components to successful integration of workplace accommodations. These include more extensive disclosure of the disability, the role of the supervisor, education of coworkers, and increased role of support personnel where relevant. The author contends that this approach can improve workplace morale and individual self-esteem as well as positively impact job performance, job satisfaction, work retention, and productivity. Generalizability of the results is limited by the sample size and population in the study, however, the article raises important questions and offers sample interventions that may have broader application.

 

Sax, C., Noyes, D., & Fisher, D. (2001, September). High school inclusion plus seamless transition equals desired outcomes: A brief report. TASH Connections, Newsletter of the Association of Severe Handicaps, 27.

This study considers the employment outcomes for students with significant disabilities who have access to inclusive education and seamless transition. Thirty-three students with disabilities attending high school in a medium-sized southern California district and who met the definition of “severe disability” provided information on employment outcomes one week after exiting high school and again two months later. Results suggest that the six target students who had been given access to inclusive education and seamless transition (i.e., no disruption in services from school environment to adult environment) did benefit in terms of employment outcomes (e.g., average wages, hours per week worked, and job variety).

 

Yang, E., Wong, S. C., Hwang, M-h., & Heppner, M. J. (2002). Widening our global view: The development of career counseling services for international students. Journal of Career Development, 28(3), 203–213.

Recognizing that international students (with and without disabilities) have both shared and unique career guidance needs, the authors review one model of career services exclusively for international students. The Career Center at the University of Missouri, Columbia, is highlighted, as are the components necessary to meet the needs of this student population. These include information about graduate schools and entrance examination practices, language and cultural barriers, available employment opportunities, work permit policies, other legal requirements, specific skills for obtaining work experiences in the U.S., and career assessments. In addition to specific content and strategies, the authors address underlying issues such as the need to go beyond equal services, the importance of not homogenizing international students from diverse backgrounds, and the importance of placing career services within a cultural context. Although the primary audience of this article is career guidance practitioners, international students and their families may find it helpful in identifying and seeking specific supports.


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