Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Earl E. Thomas


AbstractIn the school to work transition process, school personnel collaborate with community employment and vocational rehabilitation to establish an employment plan for Individual(s) with Disabilities (IWDs). Development of the Individualized Education Transition Plan (IETP) is often haphazard and not evaluated for effectiveness, resulting in poor implementation. This qualitative case study addresses the lack of a clear school to work transition planning process by exploring the perceptions and experiences of county service providers regarding community employment for IWDs. The conceptual framework, Myhill & Blanck’s Social Model of Disability, was used for this study. The research questions focused on gaining an understanding of the IETP process and county service providers’ perceptions and experiences working with IWDs. A basic qualitative design using semi-structured interview questions with 10 county service providers and educators to understand the reason for unemployment, lack of support for IWDs in the community, limited job opportunities, and limited resources for IWDs was used. The resulting qualitative data were coded manually and entered using NVivo software. Data analysis consisted of developing categories, themes, and interpreting the findings. The results demonstrated that in general, participants reported they regularly collected data in one area of IWDs to keep track of each student’s IEP goals and objectives. Another result was participants identified several uses for resources that parents could use to help their IWDs transition smoothly to life after high school. These findings resulted in the development of a policy paper, for educators to assist IWDs with engagement of employment opportunities. Implications for positive social change include IWDs being provided additional resources in the local setting, job coaching, and an IETP after high school.