Helping job seekers with disabilities to find competitive, integrated employment can be challenging. To do so, it's important to form a solid, trusting relationship. If a job seeker is from a culture different from yours, it can be daunting to know how or where to start. As vocational rehabilitation counselors, we need to learn culturally responsive approaches to build solid relationships.
Engaging Job Seekers Who Are African American
No matter what their race, all job seekers are individuals. Overcoming beliefs about stereotypes is crucial for vocational rehabilitation counselors to best help job seekers. Many African Americans share the legacy of historical trauma. The atrocities, dehumanization, and exploitation of slavery continues to influence African Americans generations after it was abolished. Inequities in today's society continues to deepen the scar.
If you are a vocational rehabilitation counselor who is not Black, it is crucial to explore historical and present inequities, examine your own biases, and identify obstacles to overcome. Learning is the first step.
The following resources can assist in your efforts to conduct outreach aiming to engage underserved people with disabilities and be better prepared to provide services to diverse communities.
Recommended Resources from TACQE and Partners
Here are a variety of resources to get you started:
- Community Engagement – Racial Capitalism: A Fundamental Cause of Covid-19 Pandemic Inequities Webinar - TACQE U
Racial capitalism as a fundamental cause of the racial and socioeconomic inequities within the novel coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19) in the United States. African Americans are bearing the brunt of the COVID-19 pandemic due to socioeconomic inequality and healthcare inequity.
- Faith-Based Organizations and African American Community Engagement during COVID-19 – TACQE U
In this webinar, learn about historical, cultural, and demographic considerations of African American communities before and after disasters. Find out how to create cross disciplinary community forums to identify the needs of African Americans.
- TECH-Prep: A Blended Learning Model for African American Youth with IDD: This two-part series features a panel presentation highlighting the blended learning model (virtual soft skills training and coaching, coding, and tech internship) being piloted with African American youth with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities in Chicago. This training is provided by the Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (VCU-RRTC).
More Resources from TACQE
- COVID-19 and Its Effects on African Americans
COVID-19 has had a more devastating impact on African Americans than it has on White Americans. Learn why and what to do about it in this article.
- Racial Bias and Vocational Rehabilitation Counseling – Factsheet
Stereotypes regarding African American Clients are often activated early in the rehabilitation counseling process, under conditions of uncertainty, when limited information is available.
- Community Engagement, Awareness, and Vocational Challenges for African-Americans During Disasters – Factsheet
Learn the facts about the disproportional and devastating effect that COVID-19 has had on African-Americans.
- Partnering with Hard-to-Connect Families
The document provides a carefully considered list of links to websites and documents that can give professionals an advantage when partnering with parents.
- Community Engagement in the Era of COVID-19: Considerations, Challenges, Implications, and Recommendations
This research summary describes considerations, challenges, implications, and recommendations for COVID-19.
- Report: Understanding the Influences of Race, Disability, and Poverty on Employment