240345 Disability status and job outcomes after vocational rehabilitation

Monday, October 31, 2011: 5:06 PM

Frank Martin, PhD , Health Research Division, Mathematica Policy Research, Washington, DC
Carol Petrucci, MPH , Program Evaluation, Director, Washington, DC
Healthy People 2020 states two employment-related objectives to promote the health and well-being of people with disabilities: 1) Reduce unemployment among people with disabilities, and 2) Increase employment among people with disabilities. Many people with disabilities rely on state-federal vocational rehabilitation (VR) programs to facilitate employment success. This study examines primary disability status and occupational outcomes after vocational rehabilitation (VR) closure. It quantifies the top job titles and occupations by disability categories, including blindness, deafness, cerebral palsy, autism, and mental illness. In 2008, there were 618,054 case closures in the VR system. Of this number, 196,311 cases were closed with a competitive employment outcome; these represent the sample for this study. The sample was 55.9% male and 44.1% female. The distribution by race/ethnicity was 67.2% White, 20.5% Black/African American, 9.1% Hispanic, 1.2% Asian, .8% American Indian, and .3% Hawaiian or Pacific Islander. The average age was 36 years. Median hourly wages for VR participants are reported and compared with those of the general labor force. Similar to previous research, the analysis shows that the most commonly held occupations after VR closure were service-related jobs, such as janitor, housekeeper, and stock clerk. Indeed, our analysis of the data indicates that consumers with disabilities were frequently placed in unskilled jobs with little opportunity for career development or advancement. The main recommendations are that counselors and public health advocates focus on functional limitations rather than disability categories, and that vocational opportunities be expanded through assistive technology and job accommodations.

Learning Areas:
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Other professions or practice related to public health

Learning Objectives:
At the conclusion of this session, learners will be able to describe the most common job outcomes after vocational rehabilitation participation for individuals with physical, sensory, intellectual and psychosocial disabilities.

Keywords: Disability Policy, Outcomes Research

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a qualified presenter because I have conducted data analysis and community based research. I also hold a masters in public health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.