Although many public schools in the United States are located in rural areas, the literature on rural youth is extremely limited, and the literature on rural youth with disabilities is practically absent. The purpose of this study was to gather the perspectives of community partners regarding rural school-community partnerships and provide an understanding of (a) the community’s role, (b) how connections in rural communities were formed, and (c) how school-community partnerships can be strengthened. This study added to the existing literature on rural school-community partnerships by providing a deeper understanding of the processes that influence the phenomenon of transition to work for rural youth with disabilities. Employing a basic qualitative research design, information from this study was captured regarding community members’ perspectives on their roles and experience partnering with rural schools to transition youth with disabilities to work. The target population consisted of community members who represented businesses and community organizations who had purposefully connected with a rural school to support youth with disabilities transitioning to work. The sample included 10 participants who took part in semistructured, one-on-one interviews to describe their experiences. Data analysis revealed the roles of the community partners and the processes they used to secure school-community partnerships. The findings indicated that the community played a vital role in transitioning youth with disabilities to work and that it took time for the community partners to adjust to their new roles of supporting youth with disabilities in the workplace. The findings provide valuable insight on how rural schools can sustain, improve, and expand their community partnerships and experiences for students with disabilities. Opportunities for future research include identification of work training opportunities for rural students with disabilities, exploration of the types of transition assessments and work skills that promote transition to work, and research with a larger sample to improve generalizability.
|Commitee:||Daddy, Stephanie, Ibarra, David|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 79/02(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Disability studies, Special education|
|Keywords:||Community, Disability, Employment, Rural youth, Transition, Workskills|
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