Study aims to improve work for students with disabilities

By Brittni Willis, College of Education intern

Marcus-PoppenPULLMAN, Wash. – Marcus Poppen has received the Switzer Research Fellowship to document and evaluate vocational support services provided to young adults with disabilities while they are enrolled in school.

“Upon completion of this project, we will have more information about particular patterns of services that lead to more positive post-secondary outcomes for students with disabilities,” said Poppen, an assistant professor in the Washington State University College of Education. “We will be able to develop strategies to ensure that these services are offered to those who need them.

“In the long run, I would like to see a school system that focuses on providing career development opportunities for young adults with disabilities, including those who we often don’t consider to have a disability or who present other life experiences that put them at greater risk for poor post-secondary outcomes,” he said.

The award of $70,000 from the National Institute of Disability, Independent Living and Rehabilitation Research will fund Poppen’s study of the relationship between pre-employment transition services (PETS) and vocational rehabilitation (VR) outcomes for young adults with disabilities.

PETS include things like job exploration, mapping educational training, workplace readiness instruction and self-advocacy training.

Poppen will collaborate with the Oregon Department of Vocational Rehabilitation, University of Oregon and 235 Oregon high schools to research existing data of almost 4,500 young adults with disabilities who received and completed services from Oregon VR between 2003 and 2013.

Last year, he was awarded an early career research award from the Council for Exceptional Children’s Division on Career Development and Transition.


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