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Working Relationships: Creating Career Opportunities for Job Seekers with Disabilities Through Employer Partnerships
Authors:: Richard Luecking, Ellen Fabian, George P. Tilson
(Softcover, 304 Pages)

All businesses have needs. People with disabilities have the skills and desire to work. As employment specialists work to match employers with job seekers, they need to do more than understand the job seekers’ personal and professional goals — they also need to know exactly what the employers are looking for. That’s what Working Relationships is about: securing satisfying jobs for people with disabilities by fostering partnerships between employment specialists and businesses.

Organizations that help people with disabilities to enter the workforce and the the job developers who are primarily responsible for making the connections with local business are frequently unfamiliar with business culture and frustrated by by the seeming lack of interest from employers. Much of that experience is the result of an erroneous belief that job developing is primarily about cold-calling and effective sales techniques. As a more effective approach, Working Relationships is a convincing and practical guide to job developing by building mutually advantageous professional relationships and partnerships with employers.

A must-read for all employment service providers and for anyone interested in employment of people with disabilities, this book helps readers:

  • understand the theoretical framework for improving career development practices through relationship building

  • understand what employers want and expect from employment service providers

  • learn about the building blocks of strong partnerships with employers: beliefs and values, communication skills, multicultural competence, ethics, and self-efficacy

  • find practical guidelines for getting to know both job seekers and employers, marketing proactively to businesses, matching job seeker characteristics with employer needs, and using the tenets of quality customer service when working with employers

  • consider the possibility of non-traditional employment through customized job consultation 

  • discover strategies for improving job retention and promoting career advancement for people with disabilities

  • explore specific ways to make employment service programs more customer-oriented, convenient, and understandable to employers

Filled with helpful case studies and examples, this valuable resource will help employment specialists develop strong, respectful partnerships with businesses — partnerships that will lead to rewarding careers for people with disabilities.


  1. Job Development and Placement: Toward a New Emphasis on Outcomes 

  2. The Employment Process: A Conceptual Framework

  3. Setting the Stage: Career Development Strategies (Jo Ann Hutchinson)

  4. Employer Perceptions of Disability and Disability Employment Programs

  5.  Developing Relationships for Effective Business Partnerships

  6. Partnerships at Work: Illustrative Case Studies (Richard G. Luecking, J. Erin Riehle, and Mark Donovan) 

  7. Fundamental Skills for Employment Specialists

  8. Knowing the Job Seeker Customer (Appendix: Case Studies)

  9. Knowing the Employer Customer 

  10. Marketing to Prospective Employer Customers 

  11. Customer-Driven, Customized Job Matches: Meshing Job Seeker Characteristics with Employer Needs

  12. Quality Service and Customer Satisfaction in Job Development and Business Partnerships

  13. Nontraditional Employment Through Customized Consultation (Richard G. Luecking and Sara Murphy)

  14. Organization Change: Building Employer-Friendly Services (Debra Martin Luecking and Richard G. Luecking)

  15. Job Retention and Career Growth

  16. Into the Future: Challenges and Issues Affecting Job and Partnership Development


"Simply the best thing I have ever encountered on the subject of job development, both in general and for people with disabilities. ... Buy a copy, review it, and then get as many copies as you can for your people."
- Basil J. Whiting, Senior Advisor, National EmployAbility Partnership, National Organization on Disability

"A good resource for professionals assisting people with disabilities in finding employment. Practitioners will find the practical approach and frequent use of examples most helpful."
- Edna Mora Szymanski, Ph.D., Professor and Dean, University of Maryland, College of Education

"An outstanding, cutting edge book [that] is a must for every job developer. These authors have once again innovatively presented numerous ways to find meaningful jobs which lead to careers for people with special needs."
- Paul Wehman, Ph.D., Professor of Physical Medicine, Rehabilitation & Special Education, Virginia Commonwealth University


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