Train the Trainer Workshops: Enhancing Listening and Social Skills to Improve Employment Opportunities for Individuals with Disabilities

Date of Completion


Document Type

Open Access Capstone

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Nina Greenwald


People with disabilities need employment skills to enhance their employment opportunities. As the economy improves and the baby boomers age and retire, a shortage of qualified talent will diminish and the need for new talent will increase. The lack of interpersonal skills has been determined to be a major factor in job loss for people with disabilities. It is demonstrated that people with disabilities are judged harshly in their efforts to be considered for employment. Employers are fearful of costs associated with making accommodations for disabilities, doubt that they can find qualified candidates who are disabled, or maintain long held myths and attitudes about people with disabilities as unqualified, not trainable and unproductive. Studies indicate that people with disabilities are loyal, dedicated and productive contributors in the workplace and enhance the work environment by encouraging similar behaviors in their colleagues. The author has designed two workshops as part of a train-the-trainer program for Employment Training Specialists who work with the non-profit organization Community Work Services (CWS). CWS provides training and job placement to individuals who have varying degrees and types of disabilities. The first of the two workshops is entitled Listening Skills: the Gateway to Successful Communication in the Workplace and is an experiential workshop focusing on the use of critical and creative thinking skills and adult learning techniques to develop active, empathic and reflective listening skills. The second workshop is entitled Encouraging Appropriate Behaviors in the Workplace and uses similar techniques to develop the concepts of respectful interactions and communications through the development of tolerance for differing points of view, interviewing skills and customer service.


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