Dissertations and Theses @ UNI


Open Access Thesis


Janitors; People with mental disabilities--Employment;


A survey was conducted of custodial manager's perceptions of employee problems and related implications for the training of mentally retarded workers. Specifically, the study investigated career-related problems of handicapped and nonhandicapped custodial workers. The survey questioned the managers of these workers to find out what problems existed and how often they occurred. The results of this survey were then used to prioritize problems and to indicate specific areas of needed training for custodial workers in general, and for the mentally retarded worker in particular. Specific training of the mentally retarded worker in these deficit skill areas should improve chances of obtaining and keeping a job.

The research plan was to survey and interview managers of custodial workers at a variety of job sites in a metropolitan area with a population of approximately 100,000. Managers were chosen from work sites including hospitals and health centers, hotels and motels, shopping malls and department stores, janitorial services, office buildings, schools, universities, utilities, post offices, recreation and entertainment centers, and airports.

Through a survey, the initial data were gathered and used to prioritize career-related problems of custodial workers. Follow-up interviews specified behavior examples manifested in each prioritized area.

The primary instrument used for the survey contained 26 descriptors of career-related problems. Managers were asked to rank order the five most relevant problems related to their specific work setting. In addition, managers were asked their opinion of the source of career-related problems and questioned on their experience in working with handicapped personnel. They listed the most valuable worker traits. General information was also gathered on the type of job setting, and managers listed the number of workers under their management.

Follow-up interviews occurred six months after the initial survey. The managers were contacted by telephone and asked to describe the top four items. This effort gave the study specific information used to define each of the problem areas.

In summarizing the survey and interviews, the four career-related problems and examples of behavior included: 1. Too frequent or too lengthy breaks a. Worker dawdles and starts breaks early. b. Worker dawdles and stays on breaks too long. c. Worker stands around and does nothing. d. Worker takes longer break if supervisor is not in sight.

2. Sloppy performance a. Worker leaves general cleaning areas ignored (e.g., furniture not moved, baseboards and corners not dusted or mopped, use of poor mopping procedures, chair rungs not dusted, bathrooms not clean, gum left on floor).

3. Worker does no work without being told a. Worker doesn't look for extra work projects when routine work is done. b. Worker needs constant supervision.

4. Inconsistent work habits a. Worker is inconsistent in day-to-day performance. b. Worker shows consistency only when supervised.

Dependability, pride, and cooperation were listed most frequently by managers as valuable job traits.

The implication of these results is that training in the previously presented areas is required to assure that mentally retarded individuals will have a chance to be gainfully employed.

Year of Submission


Degree Name

Specialist in Education


Department of Special Education

First Advisor

William P. Callahan


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Date Original


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