An evaluation of the effects of a career development program for students with disabilities at transition from high school to adult life
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This study provided an evaluation of a career development program called the Health Education and Careers Network (HECN). Designed for inner city high school students with and without disabilities the program has been in existence since 1991, focusing on preparing students for education or careers in the allied health care industry. The program's overall goal was to increase the rate of positive high school outcomes, in particular for students at risk for high school drop out, unemployment and other negative post-high school outcomes. Based on anecdotal reports, the program appeared to facilitate successful student outcomes. However, no systematic analysis of the outcomes had been conducted. The researcher collected outcome data on 111 students with disabilities who had participated in the program since 1993 and who had left high school since 1995. She disaggregated the data and performed statistical analyses to evaluate whether there were any differences in outcomes based on race or type of disability. Additionally, she used case profiles of six randomly selected students to offer more insights about the complexity of providing transition services to inner city students with disabilities and the kinds of strategies that might be most effective. The analysis revealed that students with serious cognitive impairments had the highest rate of employment as compared to students with other disabilities, and that white students had the highest rate of achieving a certification and employment in an allied health care field as compared to students from other racial groups. Overall, data from the study revealed that students who participated in the program surpassed the local and national rates on the graduation of students with disabilities, and that independent of race or disability, the program's strategies effected positive transition outcomes for all students.
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