Teaching Employable Skills to Special Education Youth: An Empowerment Approach

By Elvia R. Krajewski-Jaime, Peggy Wiencek, Shane Brady, Elizabeth Trapp and Pierre Rice Jr..

Published by The Social Sciences Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

A pilot training program was designed to develop employment and employment-related life skills for adolescents with special needs. Using the performing arts as the vehicle to teach these skills, Principal Investigators used an empowerment theoretical framework to design the curriculum for this training. The program was developed in response to concerns about the limited opportunities for these youth to enter the job market upon completing high school. Participants, aged 13-18 years old, were identified as “special education” students by their respective schools due to the lower-than-normal functioning levels of their intellectual, behavioral, and emotional skills. All participating youth were also members of low-income families who were receiving public assistance. The analysis of the evaluation results helped to validate the empowerment-based approach to teaching basic job and job-related life skills to young people who possess special social, cultural, economic and intellectual challenges to becoming productive citizens.

Keywords: Special Education, Empowerment, Empowerment Training, Employment Skills, Adolescent Employment Skills Building

International Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp.167-176. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 625.269KB).

Dr. Elvia R. Krajewski-Jaime

Director, Graduate Program, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Dr.Elvia R. Krajewski, professor of Social Work, is the director of the graduate program in the School of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University. She holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree in Social Administration from Temple University,and a doctoral degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Austin.

Prof. Peggy Wiencek

Director, Applied Research Center, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Prof. Peggy Wiencek is Director of the Applied Research Center, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities,at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree and Master's degree in Sociology from Eastern Michigan University.

Shane Brady

Alumnus, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Shane Brady holds a Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University, a Master's degree in Social Work from the University of Michigan, and is a doctoral student at the University of Virginia Commonwealth.

Elizabeth Trapp

Alumna, School of Social Work, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Elizabeth Trapp is the Program Director of the Ann Arbor YMCA. She holds a Master's degree in Social Work from Eastern Michigan University and a Bachelor's degree in Psychology from Western Michigan University.

Pierre Rice Jr.

Site Coordinator, Gear-Up Program, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, Michigan, USA

Pierre Rice is a Site Coordinator in the Gear-Up Program, Institute for the Study of Children, Families and Communities at Eastern Michigan University. He holds a Bachelor's degree in Education and a Master's degree in Leadership and Counseling from Eastern Michigan University.

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