Northeastern Illinois University
COUN 435-31: Work & Disability

Instructor Information

Ken Currier, Ph.D., CRC; Assistant Professor
Office: CLS 4092 Phone: 773-442-5576 (Office); 773-588-1829 (Home); (773) 213-4114 (Cell); (608) 608) 752-2107 (Wisconsin Farm on weekends)
Email: (preferred)
Office Hours: Tues, Wed., Thurs, 1-3pm; by appointment; Open Door Policy
Note: Students are encouraged to remain in regular contact with the instructor via email, telephone or personal visit. The instructor has no problem calling him on his home or cell phone during reasonable hours.

Class Time & Location
Wednesday, 4:15-6:50pm; SC 144 and online via Blackboard (see below under “Technology”)

Prerequisite: Admission to the Rehabilitation Counseling program: COUN 433: Foundations of Rehabilitation Counseling; COUN 434 Medical Aspects of Disability

Required Text

Szymanski, E.M., Parker, R., & Parker, R.M. (2003). Work and disability: Issues and strategies in career development and job placement. Austin: ProEd, Inc.

Other materials and handouts will be placed on reserve and/or provided on a Blackboard website. All students must have a working email account and access to a desktop computer. Information and materials may be transmitted electronically. Please meet with the instructor with any questions.

Mode of Instruction

This is a web-enhanced course utilizing in-class lecture and discussion supplemented with Blackboard activities; guest speakers and community-based activities.

Course Description This course involves both didactic and experiential modes of instruction enabling students to build competencies in the career development and job placement of persons with disabilities. Students will learn the procedures in developing effective job development and placement strategies and obtain knowledge of labor market trends, employment law, and vocational issues surrounding the acquisition and maintaining of competitive employment in today’s society. Specific emphasis will be placed on the unique challenges faced by people from non-majority and traditionally underserved groups.

Course Objectives

To gain knowledge of the world of work and the unique challenges faced by persons with disability in acquiring and maintaining integrated and competitive employment.
To acquire proficiency in the planning, implementation, and maintenance of job development plans.
To understand the medical, psychological, social, and functional aspects of physical disability and disease as it relates to employment.
To obtain knowledge of the dynamics of a changing labor market in a global economy.
To acquire expertise in conducting and reporting individual job analyses.
To obtain understand the concepts, strategies, and techniques of job placement including supported employment.

Student Outcomes as demonstrated by the ability to: (each outcome is followed by its corresponding CORE Curriculum standard code)

Articulate and apply career development theories and the importance of work to consumers with whom one works; C.4.1
Conduct and utilize labor market analyses and apply labor market information to the needs of consumers in one’s caseload; C.4.2
Utilize career/occupational materials and labor market information with the consumer to accomplish vocational planning; C.4.3
Understand employer practices that affect the employment or return to work of individuals with disabilities and utilize that understanding in facilitating their successful employment; C.4.4
Explore occupational alternatives and develop career plans in collaboration with the consumer; C.4.5
Identify the prerequisite experiences, relevant training, and functional capacities needed for career goals of the consumer and facilitate the consumer’s understanding of these issues; C.4.6
Identify the consumer’s need for accommodation and facilitate the use of resources to meet those needs; C.4.7
Apply the techniques of job modification/restructuring and the use of assistive devices, to facilitate consumer placement when appropriate; C.4.8
Assist employers to identify, modify or eliminate architectural, procedural, and/or attitudinal barriers in facilitating the consumer’s successful job placement; C.4.9
Consult with employers regarding accessibility and issues related to ADA compliance; C.4.10
Evaluate work activities through the use of job and task analyses and utilize the evaluation in facilitating successful job placement for the consumer; C.4.11
Assess and resolve job adjustment problems on the part of the consumer through the provision of post-employment services; C.4.12
Develop job opportunities for consumers through employer contacts; C.4.13
Apply strategies for consumer job placement and job retention; C.4.14
Teach the consumer appropriate job-seeking, job interviewing, and job-retention skills; C.4.15
Establish follow-up and/or follow-along procedures to maximize an individual’s independent functioning through the provision of post employment services to the consumer; C4.16
Facilitate consumer involvement in determining vocational goals and capabilities related the world of work; C.4.17
Review medical information with consumers to determine vocational implications of related functional limitations; C.4.18
Identify transferable skills by analyzing the consumer’s work history and functional assets and limitations and utilize these skills in assisting the consumer to achieve successful job placement; C.4.19
Assess the consumer’s readiness for gainful employment and assist the consumer in increasing this readiness; C.4.20
Provide prospective employers with appropriate information regarding consumer work skills and abilities; C.4.21
Discuss a consumer’s return to work options with the employer; C.4.22
Use computerized systems for consumer job placement assistance; C.4.23
Arrange for functional or skill remediation services that will result in successful consumer job placement; C.4.24
Identify and arrange for educational and training resources that can be utilized by consumers to meet job requirements; C.4.25
Provide for work conditioning or work hardening strategies and resources that can be utilized by consumers in facilitating successful job placement. C.4.26

Student Evaluation

Exams and Quizzes 100 pts.
Job Analysis Report 100 pts.
Blackboard Activities 100 pts.
Labor market analysis 100 pts
Job Club Design and Resource Manual 100 pts__
Total 500 pts.

Student Accommodations

In accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, Northeastern Illinois University does not discriminate against employees or students on the basis of disability. In addition, the university provides reasonable accommodations for both employees and students with disability. Students seeking reasonable accommodations in the classroom should contact the ACCESS Center/HELP, (phone 773/442-5495, 5496, or 5497; TDD 773/442-5499).
The University Policy on Services for Students with Disabilities may be found at: . Students should feel free to meet with the instructor, in confidence, at any time to discuss any reasonable accommodations or removal of barriers that may be hinder full inclusion and participation in the course and their learning experience.

Student Responsibilities

All students are expected to attend all class meetings and to submit assigned materials by the due date. Students are expected to conduct themselves professionally and ethically, respecting individual differences, needs, opinions, and the confidentiality of others. Attendance is vital to learning success and the positive experiences of peers. Two or more absences will have adverse effects upon your final course grade. It is the student’s responsibility to self-disclose any needed accommodations or unique learning needs.

Course Schedule and Content Areas
Note: Assigned readings listed should be read prior to the class meeting

Week 1 – Jan 11
Student survey
Rehabilitation philosophy & goals

Week 2 – Jan 18
Reading: Chapter 1: Work and Disability
Models of Career Development and Job Placement
History & Laws
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________

Week 3 – Jan 25
Readings: Chapter 2: Psychosocial and Economic Aspects of Work
Diversity Issues in Work: Views across cultures
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________

Week4 – Feb 1
Reading: Chapter 3: Legislation
Workers Compensation
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________

Week 5 – Feb 8
Readings: Chapter 4: Career Development Theories: Diversity Issues
Functional Capacity Evaluations
Work Ability, Interests, Values
Environmental Supports
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________ - DISCOVER

Week 6 – Feb 15 – Dr. Currier in San Diego at the NCRE Conference – No Class on Campus
Go to El Valor
Readings: Chapter 5
Vocational Assessment
Activity: El Valor – Vocational Evaluation lab (tentative)

Week 7 – Feb 22
Midterm Examination/Activity

Week 8 – Mar 1
Readings: Chapter 6
Go to: Find Assessment of Assistive Technology Needs - review
Assistive Technologies
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________

Week 9 – Mar 8
Reading: Chapter 7
Occupational Information
Labor Market Information
Activity: Go to: And
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________

Week 10 – Mar 15
Reading: Chapter 8
Career Development with PWD
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________


Week 11 – Mar 29
Reading: Chapter 9
Job Development
Job Analysis
Essential Functions
Employer Needs
Disability Management
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________

Week 12 – Apr 5
Reading: Chapter 10
Job Development
Job Placement, Job Seeking Skills
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________

Week 13 – Apr 12
Reading: Chapter 11 &12
Supported Employment
Work Adjustment
Theory & Practice
Discussion Board Activity _______________________________________

Week 14 – Apr 19

Week 15 – Apr 26 -Final Exam/Projects

Week 15 – May 3: Consultation/Advisement


Boldt, L.G. (1999). Zen and the art of making a living: A practical guide to creative career design. New York: Penguin Press.
Bolles, R. N. (2004). What color is your parachute? 2004: A practical guide for job hunters and career changers. Berkely, CA: Ten Speed Press.
Eikleberry, C., & Bolles, R.N. (1999). The career guide for creative and unconventional people. Berkely, CA: Ten Speed Press.
Harrison, B., Weiss, M.S., & Weiss, M. (1998). Workforce development networks: Community-based organizations and regional alliances. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Pimentel, R.K., Lotito, M.J., Bell, C.G., Lotito, M., & Bell, C. (1993). Job placement-ADA connection: Limiting liabilities and maximizing opportunities for training and placement of persons with disabilities. Granada Hills, CA: Milt, Wright & Associates.

Internet Resources

U.S. Department of Labor – Bureau of Labor Statistics

Illinois Labor Market Information (LMI)

America’s Job Bank


Job Accommodation Network (JAN)


Illinois Standard Occupational Classifications and Employment Projections

Summary of Major Labor Laws

ADA Homepage

Information, Resources, and Research about Work and Disability

The Work Site – Social Security Administration

Employment and Training Administration – Department of Labor

Bureau of Labor Statistics – Department of Labor

Working with People with Disabilities – article by Richard Pimentel

National Collaborative on Workforce and Disability – For Youth

Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity

US Workforce Fact Sheet

Occupational Exploration Online


This is a Web-enhanced course. Students should have access to email and the Internet to maximize the benefits available. See instructor if this is a challenge. The instructor uses Microsoft Office products for word processing and presentations (WORD and PowerPoint). High-speed Internet access (broadband) is ideal and dial-up connections are slow and problematic with downloading large documents. The computer labs on the NEIU campus have high-speed (broadband) connections.

Blackboard is web-based instructional software that allows instructors to teach online or to supplement site-based instruction. Course notes, scanned articles, handouts, and other printed materials will be posted on the Blackboard site for COUN 433 Introduction to Rehabilitation Counseling. The instructor will attempt to post weekly class notes (outline version of PowerPoint presentations) prior to class meetings so that students may print off class notes prior to attending the class.
Access to Blackboard:

1. Go Online using an Internet browser such as Internet Explorer
2. Go to:
3. Click on: Information Resources link
4. Click on: Northeastern’s Blackboard Bb

From NEIU’s Blackboard Bb. Click on: Create an Account Fill in all appropriate boxes. You have control of your username and password. A suggestion: keep username and password consistent with other university information resources or Internet sites – it is much easier to keep track and remember.
Exit or return to Internet Explorer or other browser
Return to Blackboard window (Steps 1-4)

From NEIU’s Blackboard Bb main page:
Click on: Course Catalog
Click on: College of Education
Click on: Counselor Education
Click on: Course Title (for example: Introduction to Rehabilitation Counseling. Next, Click on: Enroll (icon at far right) – you should be enrolled automatically if you are still logged in. If not, you may need to re-enter the site and login.
Fill in your username and password that you established above


Enter course Blackboard website
From course website: Click on: Course Documents
Here you will find the posted documents for the course. By double clicking on the item, your computer should automatically open up the document in Microsoft Word or other appropriate format. Note: some items may be posted in .pdf format (portable document format). Adobe Acrobat software is used to open these type of documents. You may obtain Adobe Acrobat Reader software, free, online at . This free software only enables you to read and print .pdf documents, NOT create them (you need additional, costly software). Adobe Acrobat Reader has its own toolbar from which to print, save, etc. These tools will be located below those of your main computer or browser toolbar. You may also go to the course Blackboard site and click on Announcements then click on the View All tab to access Adobe Reader link and instructions to download such. Other elements of the Blackboard site may be utilized such as Course Information (syllabus), Discussion Board, Announcements, and Links but your main resource will be Course Documents.

For Discussion questions on Discussion Board:
From the menu on the left side of the course web page, click on: Discussion Board
Read the instructions for the topic assignment at hand. Select the discussion topic at hand by double clicking on that heading. A window will open up with all the discussion postings listed by student’s name. (It could be blank if you are the first one). On the top left of the window you will see and icon: “Add Thread”. Click on that icon. A window will pop up similar to email. Fill in the boxes and type in your response(s); when you are done click on: “submit”. Read the other postings by clicking on the underlined topic not the student name. By clicking on the student name, you will be able to send a personal email to that person only. You may reply to other’s posting by clicking on “reply” and your comment will be shared with the class.

You should explore all aspects of Blackboard and discover all the benefits of having this technology available to you including: communicating individually with other classmates, access to resource materials such as writing guides and links to online websites, and the ability to post and send materials, comments, and documents.

Last modified: Thursday, 14 December 2006, 06:19 PM