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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.

Publication Date

Spring 4-23-2020

Medical Subject Headings

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


Occupational Therapy


Poster presented at the Spring 2020 Virtual OTD Capstone Symposium at the University of St. Augustine for Health Sciences on April 23, 2020.


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Occupational Therapy’s Role in the Transition to Employment