Home Events Learning Crisis (3): Vocational Education for Students with Disabilities : From the Campaign of Essential Workers to the Concept of Essential Functions (On Demand: Recorded)

Learning Crisis (3): Vocational Education for Students with Disabilities : From the Campaign of Essential Workers to the Concept of Essential Functions (On Demand: Recorded)

Main Topic: Online Learning and Technology
Session Type: Paper


The global spread of COVID-19 significantly restrained economic activity worldwide. The COVID-19 crisis highlights how much society depends on Essential Workers. They are respected all over the United States. Hundreds of businesses and people nationwide express gratitude to Essential Workers. Essential Worker are also important to maintain Japanese society under the COVID-19 crisis. However, “Thanks to Essential Workers Campaign” is not familiar to most Japanese people. Most Essential Workers in Japan face discrimination despite heightened social media efforts to recognize their contribution. To explain differences in public attitudes towards Essential Workers in both countries, we compare American campaign with Japanese one. While most American people pay attention to Essential Functions for discussing Essential Workers, most Japanese people pay little attention to Essential Functions. In the field of employment of people with disabilities in the United States, Essential Functions is an important concept. Essential Functions is an unfamiliar concept in Japan’s system of hiring people with disabilities. When hiring people with disabilities, most Japanese provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities without taking notice of the concept of Essential Functions. The difference in attention for Essential Functions arises from vocational perspective between the United States and Japan. We realized that the lack of awareness regarding which skills are important for a job could lead to a Vocational Education Crisis for students with disabilities in Japan. In Japan, very few websites provide job explanations for students with disabilities. To tackle this crisis, we post an article on the Counter Learning Crisis Project website (Manakiki) entitled “Special Feature about Thanks to Essential Workers”. Additionally, we held an online workplace visit because students are finding it difficult to arrange physical visits due to the pandemic. We broadcasted a Zoom meeting that featured three employment leaders, Sapporo ChallengedSocial Good Roasters Chiyoda, and Odamaki Koubou, as good examples of the workplace for persons with disabilities in Japan. Sapporo Challenged encourages people with disabilities to make use of computers to achieve their full potential. Social Good Roasters Chiyoda locates near the heart of Tokyo’s coffee hub, Jimbocho, the cafe is staffed by baristas and roasters with disabilities. Odamaki Koubou is a welfare studio for people with disabilities. People who work in Odamaki Koubou weave bags and other decorative accessories. Each panelist joined the meeting from their workplace and introduced their job. Students could see people with disabilities at work and asked questions about Essential Functions of each work through the Zoom screen. This event allowed students to learn what skills they will need in their future careers, even in an online environment. More online opportunities for students to learn Essential Functions of a job are required under the COVID-19 crisis. Through the Counter Learning Crisis Project, we accumulate expertise in children’s vocational education.

Learning Objectives:

At the end of this session, participants will be able to understand the following things:

  • Differences of vocational perspective between the United States and Japan.
  • An analysis of Vocational Education Crisis for students with disabilities in Japan.
  • Advantages and benefits of good examples under the COVID-19 crisis.

Keywords: Counter Learning Crisis Project, Vocational Education, Essential Functions, Manakiki

View the Session: https://community.pacrim.coe.hawaii.edu/groups/4189398/feed


Feb 23 2021 - May 01 2021

Local Time

  • Timezone: America/New_York
  • Date: Feb 23 2021 - May 02 2021
View the Session: Virtual Space


  • Kuniomi Shibata
    Kuniomi Shibata
    Tsuda University - Associate Professor

    Tsuda University

    Kuniomi Shibata, Ph.D., is an associate professor at Tsuda University and specializes in assistive technology, especially focusing on information technology for persons with disabilities. Currently, he is in charge of support programs for students with disabilities and is the director of the Inclusive Education Support Division, also the president of the “Counter learning Crisis Project” (Manakiki) https://learningcrisis.net/.

  • Ms. Wakaba Hamamatsu
    Ms. Wakaba Hamamatsu
    Tsuda University - Graduate Student

    Tsuda University

    Wakaba Hamamatsu is a graduate student at Tsuda University. She majors in disability studies. When she was an undergraduate student, she learned how media and technology influenced the support for people with disabilities. She practiced it through “Scene Description” for students with visual disabilities as a volunteer staff in IES. Since 2019, she has been employed by IES as a teaching assistant and held several events and workshops regarding reasonable accommodation. She belongs to the Counter Learning Crisis Project and works as the head of Social Studies. Her main research interest is how to improve the situation of employment of people with disabilities in Japan.