Abstract

The role of the workplace and its culture in supporting social inclusion and workplace support for employees with disabilities is discussed and results of a qualitative study of the workplace experiences of 8 young adults with developmental disabilities presented. Data were collected using participant observation and semi-structured interviews. Four characteristics of supportive workplaces were identified: (a) multiple context relationships, (b) specific social opportunities, (c) a personal and team-building management style, and (d) interdependent job designs. The more supportive workplaces had all of these characteristics, suggesting that collectively they represent key features of a supportive workplace culture. Implications for job development and job creation are identified.

The authors gratefully acknowledge the contributions of Sherill Faris, Noreen Donnelly, Sandra Copman, and Matthew Cadigan to this research. We also express our thanks to the participants of this study and their employers. Preparation of this manuscript was supported in part by Grant No. 90DN0013 from the Administration on developmental Disabilities, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Grant No. H133A30036 from the U.S. Department of Education, National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research. The opinions contained in this article are those of the grantee and do not necessarily reflect those of the funding agencies.

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