First Advisor

Sheldon Loman

Term of Graduation

Spring 2022

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.) in Educational Leadership: Special and Counselor Education


Educational Leadership and Policy





Physical Description

1 online resource (x, 126 pages)


Individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities have a history of being isolated, marginalized, and excluded from employment that is competitive and integrated. Policy makers, disability advocates, and self-advocates have made efforts to center inclusive education and employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual disability. Employment is a valuable outcome for students with intellectual and developmental disabilities exiting college inclusion programs (Lee & Colleagues, 2022). However, from 2017 through 2021, not all students with intellectual and/or intellectual disability exiting college inclusion programs were employed. This is concerning as O'Brien et al. (2019) pointed out students' primary goal for completing college inclusion programs is to obtain competitive integrated employment.

Additionally, most students in a Transition and Postsecondary Program for Students with Intellectual Disability are not working on campus due to current employment restrictions resulting from the COVID-19 global pandemic. The purpose of this study was to understand the perspectives and experience of students in the Portland State University Transition and Postsecondary Program for Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities college inclusion program who were preparing to work in competitive integrated employment. A qualitative study using a phenomenological approach was used to conduct semistructured personal interviews with six participants. The findings from this study indicate that the participants worked with their job developer on getting access to engage in career exploration activities on campus like informational interviews, employment path lessons, and career assessments. These services were coordinated through their VR counselor and supported by the job development agency. Further findings illustrate that the career activities guided the individuals on making decisions about their career focused jobs. Other findings are in reference to the students' ability to adopt self-coping strategies to overcome barriers in their work environment. Lastly, students addressed their concerns with interpersonal interactions with others in the workplace.


© 2022 Eva R. Blixseth

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