Facing a fragile future: A quantitative investigation into perceived career barriers of diverse urban youth with disabilities

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Multiple Voices for Ethnically Diverse Exceptional Learners


The failure of our current transition planning for culturally and ethnically diverse students with disabilities has been documented throughout the literature. Despite transition mandates, students with disabilities, particularly those from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds, continue to be unemployed or underemployed. The purpose of this study was to document barriers to career goals that students themselves identify. The researchers surveyed 128 urban high school students with disabilities from culturally and ethnically diverse backgrounds to identify the barriers they perceived to affect their career planning goals and choices. Students were asked to respond to a questionnaire that asked them to rank the importance of specific career barriers that might keep them from their future career goals. The five most frequently cited barriers included dropping out of school, being lazy, grades, drugs and alcohol, and low school attendance. Significant gender, ethnic, and school preparation differences were found. Implications for interventions and career development support are discussed.