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Twenty in-depth interviews were held with persons who had a diverse range of disabilities and had been or were currently engaged in competitive employment. The qualitative data was analyzed to gain information about current supports and barriers and to identify recommendations to make it more feasible for persons with disabilities to engage in competitive employment. The sample included 10 men and 10 women with ages ranging from 24 to 60 years including both rural and urban residents of Nebraska. Disabilities represented included various paralysis and/or physical illnesses, sensory disabilities such as loss of vision and/or hearing, psychiatric disabilities such as bipolar disorder or depression, and/or cognitive disabilities that resulted from brain injuries or childhood developmental disabilities.
The research participants told their story of trying to return to work along with the influences of their disability, health, the employment system, government services, families, and friends. A more complete report of the data is available from the University of Nebraska Public Policy Center. The following recommendations were made by the participants to help more people with disabilities return to work. Their suggestions have been divided into those that could be accomplished by state officials within the present federal system and others that would require changes in federal laws or regulations.