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NSF project titled, RDE-BPR1 - Collaborative Research:  Modeling IT Career Choices of Persons with Disabilities: The Case of Military Personnel and Veterans project

There is a compelling need to investigate barriers and facilitators of career choices of persons with disabilities because 12% of the US population has some kind of disability (NSF, 2011). Further, there is a compelling need to examine career choices of those individuals who acquire a disability after birth since only 15% of people are born with a disability (Siebers, 2008). Acquiring a disability affects  not only one’s individual identity, but also one’s social identity as a minority.

Because this identity is fluid based on the type of disability, stigma, and the ability for anyone to acquire a disability at any time (Siebers, 2008), this identity and status impacts all aspects of life, including careers and employment. A particularly relevant population to study in the investigation of career choices for persons with disabilities is the military personnel and veterans community since this is a significant and growing portion of the US population. While persons with disabilities experience unique challenges, barriers, and identities, military personnel and veterans (MPV) with disabilities are a subcategory with further nuanced experiences. DiRaimo and Spires (2009) suggest that focusing on higher education and career choices can provide a positive focus during a veteran’s recovery and transition to civilian life.