Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Adult and Lifelong Learning (EdD)

Degree Level



Rehabilitation, Human Resources and Communication Disorders


Kit Kacirek

Committee Member

Brent Williams

Second Committee Member

Kenda Shea Grover

Third Committee Member

Madan Kundu


Expectancy, Poverty, Pre-employment transition, PROMISE, Self-determination, Youth with disabilities


The purpose of this study was to develop an in-depth understanding of how Eastern Arkansas youth with disabilities and their parents describe their expectations for the future, after participating in the Arkansas PROMISE program. The study sought an understanding of how participants viewed themselves and their expectations for the future, for employment, for participation in higher education, for independent living, and for future financial support. The research used a case study approach, interviewing five students and five parent participants. Participants were asked a series of questions to get an understanding of their experiences, their expectations for the future, and their understanding of the program’s impact on their lives. Thematic analysis of the interviews, case management records, and other major documents, yielded five major findings that addressed the central research question guiding this study, which is how did Arkansas PROMISE participants in Eastern Arkansas describe their expectations for the future? Participants had an expectation of success for the future, especially as it relates to employment, while expectations for higher education, independent living and future financial support were low or mixed. Overall, participants viewed the Arkansas PROMISE program as having had an impact on their lives.

The findings suggested Arkansas PROMISE supported the development of self-determination in participants, through its use of learning through experience and interaction with the world. Findings suggested the multiple components offered in Arkansas PROMISE, along with the coordination of services, supported the development of an expectancy for success, especially as it relates to employment. The findings also suggested participation in early employment opportunities for the Eastern Arkansas participants impacted their expectations in employment. Sustained employment impacted participants’ expectations for independent living and future financial success. Findings suggested adult influences supported the development, or nondevelopment, of expectations for success in education, independent living, and future financial support. Further study on the impact of adult mentoring or coaching, and the use of integrated resource teams in the provision of transition supports for students and youth with disabilities, was also suggested.