Employment programs and professionals with a disability

Document Type


Publication details

Donelly, M & Given, F 2010, 'Employment programs and professionals with a disability', Work, vol. 36, no. 2, pp. 217-225.

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Peer Reviewed



It is unclear whether or not open (competitive) employment programs are meeting the needs of the growing numbers of people with a disability seeking professional employment.


To understand and describe the experience of a newly graduated professional (Michael) who was seeking open employment support and to analyze those experiences in relation to principles of effective open employment support. Participant: Michael a recently graduated accountant who also has a physical disability.


A review of the literature was undertaken to identify recommended principles and practices for the conduct of effective open employment and career development programs. A case study was used to describe Michael's experiences as he sought professional employment. Michael's experiences were analysed in relation to recommended principles and practice.


The analysis confirmed that the concerns Michael experienced about the supported employment program compromised the effectiveness of the support he received.


Employment services based on models of independent living, disability service standards and remediation are likely to focus on the 'pathology' or performance 'deficits' of the person with a disability. Successful open employment models are more likely to place pre-eminence on the perspective of the person with a disability and effective practices for securing employment.

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