Robert Morgan, Ph D
|Department of Special Education and Rehabilitation|
2865 Old Main Hill, Logan, UT 84322-2865
Dr. Bob Morgan is a CPD Faculty Fellow.
He is currently involved in Project PEER, or Post-Secondary Education, Employment and Research. Dr. Morgan serves on the PEER advisory board, supervising student teachers, working with the teacher in getting feedback from employers, and consulting.
He is a professor in USU's Special Education and Rehabilitation Department.
The PEER project works with people with developmental disabilities ages 18-21 prior to their leaving the public school system. It helps them discover their interests and help them plan and launch a career path. Seventeen students are enrolled per year, and PEER employs one teacher and several paraprofessionals.
The project is intended to improve on some discouraging statistics. The current economy has reduced the number of supported and competitive jobs available to them. Adult services budgets have been slashed. In a recently released study, Easter Seals revealed that only 11% of parents of adult children with disabilities say their child is employed full time.
Nationally, many people with developmental disabilities are leaving high school and “falling into a chasm,” Dr. Morgan said. It’s a trend he and others in Utah State University’s College of Education and Human Services would like to help reverse. What’s more, Dr. Morgan cites studies showing that supported employment programs are nearly 65 percent more cost-effective than sheltered workshops among people with severe disabilities. (R.E. Cimera’s cost-effectiveness study was published in 2007 in Research and Practice for Persons With Severe Disabilities, Vol. 32 Issue 4).
Project PEER has also provided fertile ground for research and development in transitioning to the adult world. It has been the subject of three of Dr. Morgan’s research projects. It also uses a program he developed to assess job preferences for people with developmental disabilities. Your Employment Selections, or YES, is a website that allows people to assess their interests. It includes video of 150 entry-level jobs to help the person decide on a career path.
Deciding what a student wants to do is often the first hurdle, said Dr. Morgan. Other goals include improving social skills, which can be another formidable barrier to getting and keeping a job.
The program’s ultimate goal is for every PEER graduate to go on to a job or post-secondary education.