Five participants at the time of the study were engaged in graduate studies or

Five participants at the time of the study were

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Five participants at the time of the study were engaged in graduate studies or had completed a graduate degree. Three of six graduates had full-time jobs, and all three had one or two master s degrees when the interview was held. Some participants appeared to delay employment due to a sense of security and comfort in the educa- tional environment that might not carry over to the workplace. All of the partici- pants, however, implied or stated that their aspirations to do well in society and their ability to seek upward mobility are fi rmly based in advanced educational opportunities beyond the baccalaureate. Analysis of the fi ndings suggests that earn- ing the highest degree possible is signi fi cant for a person with a disability, as this offers them an enhanced quali fi cation and opportunity for securing employment in the competitive labor market. To supplement our research, we asked about their experiences with career ser- vices to obtain educational interventional insights related to students and graduates with physical disabilities. More than one-half of the participants indicated that they had been to the university career services center, but their experience with career ser- vices was limited and they did not receive a wealth of assistance. Several participants indicated that their professors or the Disability Support Services (DSS) director were more helpful with their job search than the career center. In addition, a few graduates with disabilities recognized that networking and personal contacts are important in conducting a job search. Discussion and conclusion This study searched for the phenomena of lived employment experiences of seniors and recent college graduates with physical disabilities seeking their transition from college to work, employing their own testimonies. Some of our fi ndings are consis- tent with the previous literature. Below we highlight and discuss major fi ndings and educational implications. The intensive and repeated interviews revealed their physical pain, their frustration with society, their successes, their failures, and their burning need to be accepted just like everyone else. Participants see their physical disabilities as the biggest challenge in their lives and a restriction on their career choices and opportu- nities. All participants noted that workplace accessibility and accommodation are major concerns when they apply for a job. Their viewpoints or attitudes are not monolithic and range from pain to pride and from experiences of denied accommo- dation to support. Their testimonies revealed severe frustration and anger, and we repeatedly heard words such as pain, ’ ‘ barrier, ’ ‘ embarrassment, ’ ‘ full-time job, and 24/ 7. Even among participants with the same type of physical disability, the symp- toms, severity, and the person s needs varied. Notably, the three participants who acquired disabilities had dif fi culties in adjusting to their new world and new identity and tended to be angrier than those born with them. Their indescribable
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