The importance of career development in constructing vocational rehabilitation transition policies and practices
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BACKGROUND: To address prevailing gaps in employment rates between working-age people with disabilities and those without, vocational rehabilitation professionals can use targeted career development initiatives for their consumers as they progress through school and into the professional world. With education at the core, vocational rehabilitation counselors are poised to collaborate with teachers, employers, and policymakers to promote work experience and self-advocacy among their transition-age consumers, which has been shown to increase employment rates. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this article is to present a synthesis focusing on the intersection of the career development and secondary transition literature to provide guidance for the evaluation and development of policy, to contribute to a needed area of knowledge generation in vocational rehabilitation, and to underscore the application of research-based practices in transition services. METHODS: The literature search, identification, and synthesis were guided by the overarching question, how can rehabilitation professionals use what is known about career development to assist with secondary transition preparation and planning through the services and resources they provide? RESULTS: The search resulted in the identification of 20 articles specific to the intersection of career development, secondary transition preparation and planning, and improving postsecondary outcomes. CONCLUSION: Suggestions for practices and further research are presented in the context of U.S. national rehabilitation law, specifically the recent (2014) Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act. © 2017-IOS Press and the authors. All rights reserved.