A Quick Look
This study gave voice to Latinos with disabilities concerning their experiences with acculturation, employment, and vocational rehabilitation. Results suggest that acculturation and related variables may play a key role in shaping the experiences of Latinos with disabilities seeking employment and using vocational rehabilitation services. The barriers perceived and reported are useful additions to the literature and may give rise to constructive efforts to improve service delivery.
- Participants with lower identification with the United States cultural domain struggled more with employment and VR outcomes than those with stronger identification.
- Lower identification with the United States cultural domain was associated with limited English proficiency and educational attainment and increased acculturative stress, which in turn tended to negatively impact employment and VR experiences post-disability.
- Results highlight the importance of the type of employment outcomes prior to disability onset, English language skills, educational attainment, family support, acculturative stress, and cultural mistrust.
- Acculturation scores suggest that participants from both focus groups identified with both the US and Latino cultural domains.
- Findings indicate that acculturation and related variables (English proficiency, educational attainment, familial support, and acculturative stress) are imperative to consider, as they appeared to have an influence on the employment and VR experiences of this group.
Putting It Into Practice
- Irrespective of acculturation pattern, cultural mistrust toward the VR system was evident and may be a barrier to seeking such services.
- Service providers may enhance vocational services and employment opportunities to help reduce the work-related disparities experienced by the Latino community.
- Participants from the English-speaking focus group obtained a significantly higher overall US domain mean acculturation score than participants from the Spanish-speaking focus group.
- Participants from the Spanish-speaking focus group obtained a significantly higher overall Latino domain mean acculturation score than participants from the English-speaking focus group.
- Participants indicated that VR could improve relations with the Latino community by providing more outreach, bilingual and Latino counselors, cultural sensitivity training, materials in Spanish, and disability rights education for clients.
- Participants included Latinos with disabilities, either English- or Spanish-speaking. First, the Disability and Employment Survey was completed by 59 Latinos with disabilities. Second, 9 Latinos with disabilities participated in either an English- or Spanish-speaking focus group.
- I. Dziekan and A.G. Okocha, Accessibility of rehabilitation services: Comparison by racial-ethnic status, Rehabilitation Counseling Bulletin 36(4) (1993), 183–190.
- Sabogal, G. Marín and R. Otero-Sabogal, Hispanic familism and acculturation: What changes and what doesn’t? Hispanic Journal of Behavioral Sciences 9(4) (1987), 397–412.
Velcoff, J. Hernandez, B., & Keys, C. Employment and vocational rehabilitation experiences of Latinos with disabilities with differing patterns of acculturation. Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, 33 (1), 51-64. DOI: 10.3233/JVR-2010-0515.
Contact a Vocational Rehabilitation Technical Assistance Center for Quality Employment expert at: firstname.lastname@example.org