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College career development centers: Serving students with learning disabilities

Selma Haddad Riconscente, Johnson & Wales University


While a college degree typically expands career options for students with learning disabilities, degree attainment does not necessarily ensure students a smooth transition from college to employment (Aune & Kroeger, 1997; Gerber, 1997). An essential college service, the career development center, is uniquely positioned to ameliorate this transition (Hitchings & Retish, 2000). This study explored the practices employed by career development center directors in nine degree-granting institutions in a New England state in addressing the career development needs of students with learning disabilities and disability issues that affect career placement. The study was guided by three major research questions regarding practices employed by career centers in addressing the unique needs of college students with learning disabilities, disability issues that affected career placement, and recommendations of participants for serving these students. Interview data were analyzed qualitatively for common patterns and themes. The major findings indicated that the selected career development centers employed no specific practices for serving students with learning disabilities; nor were formal approaches utilized for addressing the impact of learning disabilities on career placement. All directors offered reflections regarding how the centers might assist students with career issues related to learning disabilities. Based on findings and the literature, actionable recommendations were developed for use by college career development center directors and higher education leaders in addressing the unique career development needs of college students with learning disabilities. Recommendations include the provision of professional development in federal disability laws, learning disabilities, and disability-related career issues, the strengthening of collaboration and referral processes with the disability support services office, and the use of multiple modalities and formats in the implementation of career services and communications.

Subject Area

Higher education|Special education|Vocational education

Recommended Citation

Riconscente, Selma Haddad, "College career development centers: Serving students with learning disabilities" (2004). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI3124563.