Self-Employment for People with Disabilities: A Special Issue from the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation

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The Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation (JVR) recently published a special issue on self-employment of people with disabilities. It features seven articles produced by the National Center on Self-employment, Business Ownership, and Telecommuting in partnership with VCU Rehabilitation Research and Training Center (VCU-RRTC).

The special issue shares information to influence disability-related employment policy and practices affecting the self-employment outcomes of people with disabilities.

JVR’s Special Series Articles

An Introduction to This Special Issue of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation: Self-Employment

Inge and Keeton (2023) begin their introduction by stating:

Small businesses are the backbone of America, and according to data from the Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Advocacy, 99.9% of all U.S. businesses are small businesses. Small businesses can be flexible and adaptable. Many develop around the skills of the owners and are designed to support their way of life and goals. Business activities that the owner cannot or does not want to do can be subcontracted or delegated. All these features make self-employment a good choice for people with disabilities who want to work but are not interested in or do not fit existing jobs. (p. 1)

Read this introduction to learn more about the complex and intersecting challenges and barriers around self-employment for people with disabilities.

An International Scoping Review of Factors Impacting Self-Employment Outcomes for Individuals with Disabilities

Learn about the many factors that affect self-employment outcomes for people with physical and cognitive disabilities. This scoping review of empirical literature examined individual/system level, programmatic, and key themes that impact self-employment outcomes.

Understanding the Provision of Self-Employment for People with Disabilities in the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program: A Policy Review

Explore the barriers that impede equitable access to self-employment services and get recommendations on how to address these nationally. This policy analysis included a review of 73 VR state and territory agency policies. It used data from RSA-911 and other sources about the self-employment process through VR agencies.

A Summary of the Self-Employment Outcomes in the State Vocational Rehabilitation Services Program: Program Years 2018, 2019, and 2020

Get a snapshot of the extent self-employment is occurring as a competitive, integrated employment outcome within the state vocational rehabilitation agencies program, and get recommendations for VR policies and practices that may expand self-employment participation and outcomes. Data in this article was provided by the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA) as part of the RSA Case Service Report (RSA-911) for 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Facilitating Self-Employment as a Competitive Integrated Employment Outcome: Results of a Focus Group Study with Vocational Rehabilitation Professionals

Learn what facilitates self-employment for people with disabilities as reported by vocational rehabilitation professionals. Data was obtained from a national sample of VR professionals who participated in a series of focus groups.

Identifying the Knowledge, Skills, and Barriers for Self-Employment

Discover what vocational rehabilitation counselors believe are the knowledge, skills, and barriers when facilitating self-employment and business ownership during the vocational rehabilitation process. This study used a Delphi method with three iterations.

An Examination of Vocational Rehabilitation Requirements for Self-Employment Technical Assistance and Consultative Services

Learn about the types of technical assistance and consultation for self-employment that are outlined in state vocational rehabilitation agency (SVRA) policy. Policies from all 50 states and the District of Columbia’s combined or general SVRAs, as well as policies from 18 blind SVRAs were reviewed and coded for this study.

The National Center on Self-employment is funded by the U.S. Department of Education, Rehabilitation Services Administration (Grant#H263E200005). The ideas, opinions, and conclusions expressed do not represent recommendations, endorsements, or policies of the U.S. Department of Education.

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