Abstract and Keywords
People are social beings and as such have a right to personal dignity, social security, citizenship, and full participation in civil and social activities as a member of society. Active engagement in social roles enables each individual to have a sense of connection and acceptance through interacting with other people, build his or her self-esteem by contributing to the society; and, consequently, improve his or her overall quality of life. Paid work is a core factor in one's ability to contribute fully to society. This is important for all people, but can be particularly important for people with disabilities, who often experience social isolation. Vocational training is a means to achieve the desired goal of paid employment in an integrated setting and full community participation as a resulting outcome, and is one that rehabilitation psychologists should not overlook in their services. This chapter begins with the importance of community citizenship and valued roles for people with disabilities and examines the positive impact of social integration and inclusion on quality of life. In addition to an overview of the historical and philosophical roots and evolution of related employment and disability policy, we discuss the importance of vocational training and related services that can lead to successful employment outcomes. Following a discussion of current issues and concerns in vocational training and social integration, we conclude with the implications for rehabilitation psychology practice, training, and research.
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