Free
Poster Session
Issue Date: July 01, 2015
Published Online: February 09, 2016
Updated: January 01, 2020
Project CAREER: Interprofessional Support to Transition College Students With Traumatic Brain Injuries to Employment
Author Affiliations
  • Boston University
Article Information
Neurologic Conditions / Traumatic Brain Injury / Health Services Research and Education
Poster Session   |   July 01, 2015
Project CAREER: Interprofessional Support to Transition College Students With Traumatic Brain Injuries to Employment
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911510217. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO6106
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July 2015, Vol. 69, 6911510217. https://doi.org/10.5014/ajot.2015.69S1-PO6106
Abstract

Date Presented 4/18/2015

Project CAREER is a 5-yr interprofessional development project funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR). It is designed to improve the employment success of undergraduate students with traumatic brain injury (TBI) through the use of cognitive support technologies (CSTs; e.g., iPads®).

SIGNIFICANCE: Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a serious public health problem in the United States, with ∼1.7 million Americans who sustain a TBI annually. Project CAREER is an interprofessional development project funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) designed to improve the employment success of undergraduate students with TBI. The incidence of TBI is high in young adults, with short-term memory and planning deficits often leading to barriers in gaining and maintaining employment. Best practices exist from the assistive technology field to help people compensate for cognitive impairments, and from the vocational rehabilitation field to enhance employment outcomes for individuals with disabilities. However, these practices have not been brought together to address the needs of people with TBI transitioning from undergraduate settings to the work place. Our hypothesis was that by participating in Project CAREER, students with TBI will acquire self-determination, self-advocacy, and problem-solving strategies through the use of cognitive support technologies (CSTs) to address the challenges of TBI.
METHOD: In this project, we used a mixed-methods design. This study was conducted at the participants’ respective universities in person and virtually. Participants included 45 students with TBI from nine colleges in three states. By the 5th yr of the project, more than 150 students will have participated in Project CAREER. The institutional review board (IRB) approved the study, and participants were recruited via networking and flyers.
Participants completed career-based assessments, such as the Career Decision Self-Efficacy Short Form, and met with the educational and technology specialist who provided career exploration through the use of iPads®; iPads are given to each participant as a CST device and as a virtual platform for e-mentoring. Descriptive statistics (means and standard deviations) were used to calculate assessment results.
RESULTS: On the basis of initial career assessments, participants did not expect to encounter many barriers that would hinder their career progress. For the Career Decision Self-Efficacy Short Form, the mean score for the entire sample was 93.6, showing that self-efficacy is high for the participants. The Career Maturity Inventory asks participants to select the kind of job or work they will probably do when they finish school. It has been previously recommended that individuals with lower scores should engage in broad exploration activities (e.g., identity and values clarification interventions), whereas those with higher scores should proceed with in-depth occupation exploration (e.g., interest inventory interpretations). These approaches were used with the respective students, especially in their e-mentoring experiences. Each student was assigned an e-mentor who he or she met with to discuss career options.
CONCLUSION: Through the use of CSTs and best practices in career planning and rehabilitation, this innovative method of academic enrichment and career enhancement will substantially improve the bleak employment outcomes that presently await civilian and veteran students with TBI following the completion of their college training. A small sample size may limit the generalizability of the results.