Career Visions (2009-2014)

Project Staff

Jo-Ann Sowers: Principal Investigator.

Adrienne Scavera: Graduate Research Assistant.


Career Visions: My Career Vision: Enhancing Career Development Engagement and Self-Determination for Young Adults with Serious Mental Health Conditions

The Career Visions Project focused on the career planning and development of young adults between the ages of 20 and 25 years who experience serious mental health issues. The Self-Determination Career Development Model, developed by Dr. Michael Wehmeyer and colleagues, was adapted to address the unique issues of these young adults. Young adult advisors and others informed and guided the model adaptations. In order to experimentally evaluate the impact of the intervention, young adults from the Greater Portland Area who were interested in participating in the research were randomly selected to receive the intervention. Young adults who received the intervention learned and applied skills in order to define their own career goal, identify steps to achieve this goal, and take action to complete these steps.

Publications and Products

Enhancing the Career Planning Self-Determination of Young Adults with Mental Health Challenges

This journal article details the impact of an intervention on the self-determination and career planning engagement of young adults with mental health challenges.

What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?

This publication offers young adults guidance on career research, including preliminary exploration, getting and conducting informational interviews, and using internet resources for further inquiry. This document is also available in Spanish.

Focal Point, 2013 Article: Self-Determined Career Planning: The Career Visions Project

This article describes Career Visions, a project of the Pathways Research and Training Center that assists young people with mental health difficulties to work toward career goals by creating and implementing step-by-step plans with the help of a career guide.

Focal Point, 2013 Article: Earning My Success: Working with the Career Visions Project

A young adult explains how the Career Visions Project helped her overcome barriers, become more comfortable with job interviews, become more self-determined, and eventually garner a full-time career and acceptance to graduate school.

If, When, and How to Disclose to an Employer That You Have a Mental Health Disability

This fact sheet helps young people with mental health conditions determine the best strategies for whether and how to disclose their conditions to an employer, based on their individual circumstances.

Enhancing Career Development Engagement and Self-Determination for Young Adults with Mental Health Diagnoses

This report provides a literature review on self-determination and career development engagement for young adults with mental health diagnoses.

Supporting Self-Determination and Enhancing Career Development for Young Adults with Mental Health Diagnoses

Using current and past research, this webinar addressed how self-determination processes in career development for young adults with mental health diagnoses can enhance the capacity for effective career development activities.


The Nuts & Bolts of Microenterprises for People with Behavioral Health Challenges

Presented at NAMI Portland – NorthStar, Portland, OR, April 24, 2014.

Innovative Approaches to Supporting Young Adults to Take Charge of Their Career Visions

Presented at the Alternatives Conference, Austin, TX, December 6, 2013.

Engaging and Supporting Young Adults with Mental Health Challenges

Presented through the Mental Health of America, Oregon Peer Employment Network Webinar series, August 2013.