Background Image Alternative Text: Woman working at a computer

Project 2 Using a Virtual Training System to Improve Job Interview Skills for Youth and Young Adults who are Blind or Have Low Vision

Purpose

The purpose of this project is to evaluate the effectiveness of a virtual interview training intervention in improving job interview skills and employment outcomes for youth and young adults who are blind or have low vision (B/LV).


Research Questions and Hypotheses

  1. Participants who receive virtual interview training will exhibit increases in job interview skills and self-efficacy and decreases in anxiety, from pretest to posttest compared to a control group.
  2. Participants who receive virtual interview training will maintain increases in self-efficacy and decreases in anxiety at 6-month follow-up compared to the control group.
  3. A higher proportion of participants who receive virtual interview training will have received and accepted a job offer at 6-month follow-up compared to the control group.
  4. Participants’ virtual interview training performance scores will increase as they progress through the training.
  5. Greater virtual interview training usage and higher performance scores will be associated with better outcomes at posttest and 6-month follow-up.
  6. Can youth and young adults with B/LV use the virtual interview training with effectiveness, efficiency, and satisfaction?
  7. Is the virtual interview training easy-to-use, enjoyable, and helpful for youth and young adults with B/LV?
  8. Does the effectiveness of the virtual interview training differ by level of vision?

Study Summary

Paid work experience is a key predictor of future employment for youth who are B/LV, particularly when they find jobs independently. Although interview skills are a crucial aspect of successful job-seeking, intervention research that targets job interview skills for B/LV youth is extremely limited. Furthermore, no research has been conducted to evaluate virtual interview training technologies with B/LV youth.

For this research project, we will customize an existing virtual interview training system for B/LV youth and young adults and evaluate its usability with screen reader and screen magnification software users. We will then conduct a randomized controlled trial to assess its effectiveness by randomly assigning B/LV youth and young adults to one of two groups. One group will use the virtual interview training system for about four weeks with support from trained agency staff. The other group will receive their usual school- and community-based services. All participants will complete a pretest, posttest, and 6-month follow-up to assess their interview skills, interview self-efficacy, interview anxiety, and job offer receipt and acceptance. Project partners include the Florida Division of Blind Services, Florida Agencies Serving the Blind, Dr. Matthew Smith from the University of Michigan, and SIMmersion, LLC.


Expected Outcomes and Benefits

This project will result in a customized version of an engaging web-based virtual interview training system that provides B/LV youth and young adults with opportunities to develop and refine their job interview skills. Project findings will inform vocational rehabilitation service delivery and contribute to the development of evidence-based practices for providing pre-employment transition services to youth to facilitate their transition to employment.