Date of Award

Spring 4-24-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Occupational Therapy (OTD)


Occupational Therapy

First Advisor

Thais Petrocelli

Second Advisor

Kayla Collins

Third Advisor

Anne Petre

Medical Subject Headings

Occupational Therapy, Employment, Disabled Persons, Needs Assessment, Adolescent, Young Adult


Employment rates for persons with disabilities are shockingly low at 30%, while 70% remain unemployed. Some of the reasons for this disparity found in the research include a lack of preparation during high school, a lack of occupational therapy involvement in the transition to work process, and limited transition resources in rural communities resulting in students with disabilities graduating from high school without the skills necessary to secure employment. The goal of this project was to create a pre-employment course at a local YMCA in Warsaw, IN with occupational therapy-based curriculum for youth and young adults with disabilities to help mitigate these disparities and provide a resource where one did not already exist. Through a needs assessment of Warsaw, IN, curriculum development, and recruitment of nine participants, a seven-week, occupational therapy-based pre-employment course was created and implemented at the local YMCA. A pre and post-test were administered at the beginning and end of the class cycle to gauge effectiveness and student understanding. Comparing the results showed a mean increase of 6 points overall supporting occupational therapy involvement in the transition to work programs. Occupational therapy has much to offer the population with disabilities during their transition to work period, and occupational therapists have a responsibility to stake a claim in working in this area of practice.


Capstone project submitted to the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Occupational Therapy.