The purpose of this project is to implement a job search skills training program with adults who are blind or have low vision (B/LV) and evaluate its effectiveness. We will provide the training to small groups in a distance learning environment using accessible videoconferencing software.
Hypotheses and Research Question
- B/LV adults who receive job search skills training will increase their job search knowledge, job search behavior, job search self-efficacy, and resume quality; and will experience a reduction in depressive symptoms.
- At 6- and 18-month follow-ups, B/LV adults who receive job search skills training will maintain increases in job search knowledge, job search behavior, and job search self-efficacy, and they will maintain reductions in depressive symptoms.
- B/LV adults who receive job search skills training will have higher employment rates at 6- and 18-month follow-ups, in comparison to a control group.
- To what extent are B/LV adults who receive job search skills training via videoconference satisfied with and accepting of the training with this delivery method?
Job search skills training is an effective way to improve the likelihood of employment for people who are unemployed but seeking work, and it positively affects the well-being of people who face employment barriers. Job search skills training has been used with B/LV adults in practice, and people with B/LV have identified this type of training as an important facilitator to employment. However, job search skills training programs have not yet been evaluated for their effectiveness in improving employment outcomes for B/LV adults.
For this research project, we will create a job search skills training program specifically for B/LV adults, based on two existing programs:
- JOBS, an evidence-based job search program for unemployed adults
- Putting Your Best Foot Forward, a job search program for B/LV youth, created by NRTC researchers from a modified version of the JOBS program for youth
Given the growing use of technology and telecommunications to increase opportunities for individuals to participate in services and instruction, we will modify the job search skills training to be compatible with remote instruction via videoconferencing and evaluate its feasibility in a pilot study. We will then evaluate the program’s effectiveness using a randomized controlled trial, in which we will randomly assign B/LV adults to one of two groups. One group will participate in the job search skills training program for one week. The other group will receive general job search skills information. Both groups will complete a pretest, posttest, a 6-month follow-up, and an 18-month follow-up to assess their job search knowledge, behavior, and self-efficacy, depressive symptoms, and employment outcomes.
Expected Outcomes and Benefits
This project will result in a job search skills training curriculum specifically for B/LV adults to help them improve their job search skills, increase their confidence, and successfully achieve competitive integrated employment. Using a distance format for the training will broaden its potential reach, as adults with B/LV from various locations can participate without transportation or travel requirements.