The Future of Education

Edition 8

Accepted Abstracts

Job Coaching For Workers With Intellectual Disabilities: A Pilot Study

Emanuela Zappella, University of Bergamo (Italy)


Despite numerous employment initiatives, people with intellectual disabilities are significantly more likely to experience unemployment . A growing literature base suggests the need for positive interventions to help individuals with disabilities improve their skills.

For employees with intellectual disabilities, the majority of accommodations related to support from the job coach. He is responsible for assisting a individual with disabilities in searching and obtaining a job by creating a positive job match, maintaining a job through on site assistance such as facilitating communication with the employer on the job. The literature emphasizes some important issues:

-       strategies for teaching employment skills to individuals with intellectual disability as systematic instruction;

-       the time of the job interview (Brock et al., 2016);

-      the importance of the collaboration between physicians in primary health care, job coaches and employers;

-      the perceptions of persons with intellectual disability receiving support and the persons providing support (Willems et al., 2016)

-       job coach competencies and attitudes (McInnes et al., 2016).

Future research should address the implementation and effectiveness of workplace accommodations. My research aims to identify which is the role of the job coaches for workers with intellectual disabilities in small and medium enterprises. I adopted a qualitative approach

-       in-depth interviews carried out with 5 job coaches, 20 employers and workers with disabilities during the trial period.  The collected data has been analyzed using the interpretative phenomenological approach;

-       longitudinal case studies: I  followed the career path of workers with intellectual disabilities from the first employment application to the end of the trial period. I analyzed how support is managed by job coaches, carrying out direct observations, collecting accounts from the employers, workers and coaches.

The research shows the types of support for the workers as well as the organization.  Job coaches have a great knowledge of the disability, the worker’s characteristics as well as an analysis of the business context.  He would allow employers to better understand the needs of employees and to provide solutions to various problems. Specific training conducted by job coaches could facilitate the support task of the employers and colleagues.



Workers with disabilities, job coaching, inclusion, workplace accommodations 


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