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Christine Privott, Ph.D., OTR


This article presents a course project that allowed senior undergraduate occupational science students the opportunity to experience advocacy and leadership roles as they prepared to transition to entry-level occupational therapy programs. The students coordinated an on-site employment fair for women residents of one Alcoholics Anonymous-based substance abuse recovery center in Kentucky. This ultimately led to a preliminary qualitative program evaluation study of the participants’ perceptions of employability after participating in the fair. Following a semi-structured interview protocol, nine participants were interviewed by student investigators immediately following the fair. The resulting data were compared within and across transcripts, and coded for emergent themes within an Alcoholics Anonymous framework. The results indicated that the women considered both the students and employers to be advocates; also, the fair was seen as a practical resource for recovery. The women exited the fair poised to pursue diverse work opportunities they previously thought unobtainable. This article supports occupational therapy education efforts to promote research experiences and has implications for future occupational therapy practice in the domain of work.