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Am J Intellect Dev Disabil. 2016 Sep;121(5):398-418. doi: 10.1352/1944-7558-121.5.398.

Engaging Communities in Identifying Local Strategies for Expanding Integrated Employment During and After High School.

Author information

1
Erik W. Carter, Carly L. Blustein, and Jennifer L. Bumble, Department of Special Education, Vanderbilt University; and Sarah Harvey, Lynette M. Henderson, and Elise McMillan, Vanderbilt Kennedy Center, Vanderbilt University.

Abstract

Amidst decades of attention directed toward improving employment outcomes for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (IDD), few efforts have been made to engage communities in identifying local solutions for expanding integrated employment opportunities. We examined the implementation and outcomes of "community conversation" events held in 6 geographically and economically diverse locales. Each event used an asset-based dialogue approach called the World Café ( Brown & Isaacs, 2005 ) to solicit ideas from a broad cross-section of community members on improving integrated employment that reflect local priorities and possibilities. Six key themes encapsulated the 1,556 strategies generated by the almost 400 attendees. Although considerable consistency was found among the categories of strategies raised across events, the manner in which those individual strategies would be implemented locally reflected the unique accent of each community. Attendees also viewed these events as promising and productive pathways for identifying next steps for their community. We offer recommendations for community-level intervention efforts and suggest directions for future research.

KEYWORDS:

employment first; natural supports; severe disabilities; systems change

PMID:
27611351
DOI:
10.1352/1944-7558-121.5.398
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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