Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Cathryn W. White


In a Midwest school district, individuals with disabilities (IWD) graduating from high school are not successful in obtaining employment in the local community. District leaders were unable to make evidence-based decisions regarding the transition program due to a lack of data regarding employers' perceptions related to employment of IWD. The purpose of this qualitative intrinsic case study was to explore employers' perceptions regarding the employment of IWD. Using Tinto and Pusser's model of institutional action for student success, 12 employers were purposefully sampled in the target community, and data were collected through face-to-face interviews. Data were analyzed using comparative, inductive analyses and analytical coding. Four themes emerged from the findings: (a) employers are willing to hire IWD and make accommodations, (b) employers need the support of job coaches and professional development, (c) the positive attitudes and social skills of IWD contribute to hiring more IWD, and (d) some employers will hire IWD under certain conditions. A white paper was developed to improve stakeholders' understanding of the needs of these individuals and employers in the community. Implications for positive social change are that adoption of the recommended actions by the stakeholders will improve transition, employment, and understanding of these individuals' needs as they transition to the target community, allowing individuals with disabilities to be independent contributing members of society.