Date of Award:

2013

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Special Education and Rehabilitation

Advisor/Chair:

Robert Morgan

Abstract

Students with disabilities in transition programs experience difficulty with finding permanent employment. This study investigated the effects of social media on employment outcomes. Participants included 37 students ages 18 to 22 with moderate to severe disabilities in transition programs in a Western state school system. The student researcher divided 37 participants into two groups: (a) social media job search, or (b) traditional job search. Participants were systematically assigned to one of two groups based on five variables: (a) gender, (b) socioeconomic status (SES), (c) daily computer usage, (d) diagnosis, and (e) participation on social media sites. Social media and traditional groups consisted of 18 and 19 participants, respectively. Groups were further subdivided into two groups of 9-10 participants with procedures carried out in an equivalent manner across those subgroups. The control groups implemented traditional job search methods while the social media groups learned to explore social media in the context of a job search. Variables included (a) job placements, (b) job interviews, and (c) job referrals. The students in all groups met twice weekly for 4 weeks. The researcher found that the social media job search group had higher numbers of job placements, interviews, and referrals compared to the traditional job search group. Seven participants in the social media job search group found employment compared to two in the traditional job search group. Within the social media job search group, there were nine job interviews compared to five in the control group. The participants in the social media job search group received 62 referrals compared to the nine received in the control group. These findings suggest social media may play a role in increasing employment activity and outcomes in post-high school job search endeavors.