News & Perspectives

Best practices for employment specialists as published in Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation


Employment specialists are professionals who support people with disabilities with finding and succeeding in work. Research shows that integrated employment (i.e. jobs held by people with the most significant disabilities in typical workplace settings where the majority of employees are not persons with disabilities) can lead to an expanded social network, higher wages, a passion, and a career – so employment specialists have the power to facilitate and change the course of a person’s life. Yet, when tasked with managing sizeable caseloads, changing schedules, administrative tasks, and implementing a diverse set of skills and competencies, it can be difficult for employment specialists to provide the best supports for each supported employee.

In an attempt to bridge the gap between research and practice, Maya Cox of Public Consulting Group and her colleague Kelley Land of Virginia Commonwealth University recently authored an article based on their work together at Indiana University’s Indiana Institute on Disability and Community. We are thrilled to announce that their article has been accepted for publication in an upcoming volume of the Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation.

The article, titled “The power of the employment specialist: Skills that impact outcomes,” outlines usable strategies for employment specialists to consider when supporting a job seeker to secure employment. Through research and experience in the field, Maya and Kelley identified the following four “rules” that are expanded upon in the article to help employment specialists incorporate best practices and facilitate positive outcomes for supported employees:

  1. Do no harm
  2. Don’t be weird
  3. Provide enough, but not too much support
  4. Do right by the supported employee

A manuscript version of the article can be accessed here. The final publication is available at IOS Press through