Third Interim Report: Characteristics and Outcomes of Former VR Consumers with an Employment Outcome
Longitudinal Study of the Vocational Rehabilitation Service Program Third Interim Report:
Characteristics and Outcomes of Former VR Consumers with an Employment Outcome
Initiated in fall 1992, the Longitudinal Study of the Vocational Rehabilitation (VR) Services Program will address key questions of interest to Congress, the Rehabilitation Services Administration (RSA), state VR agencies, and consumers about the performance of the state-federal VR program. The study's design, reflecting the typical service patterns of VR program participants, calls for repeated contacts with individuals over a three-year period to obtain comprehensive information to support judgments about the benefits to consumers and to society of the VR system as it currently operates.
Because of the longitudinal nature of the study, RSA in designing it called for a number of interim reports that would, in an incremental fashion, begin making study findings available to policy makers and practitioners as the study proceeded over a six-year period. This report is the third of four interim reports that, along with the study's final report, will answer the study's questions about the program's impacts on participants. To orient readers to the study, this chapter of the report provides an overview of the study's information goals and reporting schedule, data collection design and activities, and current status.
This report contains selected preliminary findings on the characteristics and outcomes of VR consumers who achieved an employment outcome as a result of VR services. While these findings are preliminary and may change somewhat following completion of the study's data collection activities in fall 1999, they are generalizable to the population of individuals with disabilities who received VR services and achieved a competitive or other type of employment outcome. To begin to address questions regarding the benefits of VR services to consumers, we have focused the analyses for this report primarily on persons who achieved competitive employment. We also report information on characteristics and experiences of persons whose employment outcome was not competitive, when such comparisons help to shed light on factors that may be associated with different types of outcomes.
The remainder of the report contains the following chapters. Chapter 2 includes a profile of former VR consumers who achieved an employment outcome: topics include (1) disability and demographic characteristics, (2) history of labor force participation, and (3) an overview of services received under an Individualized Written Rehabilitation Program (IWRP). Chapter 3 presents findings on the employment and earnings of persons who achieved competitive employment at closure from VR and at one-year follow up. It includes the following sections: (1) type of job, hours worked, and hourly earnings for job at closure; (2) descriptive information on earnings by various characteristics (e.g., severity of disability, educational attainment and achievement levels); and (3) employment and earnings status of these persons one year after exit from VR services.
The findings contained in these chapters come from three primary sources. First is information abstracted from VR case files. Second is a detailed work history interview administered to all study participants at the time of their entry into the study. The third is a follow-up interview administered one year after the participant's exit from VR services. The interview collects information on current employment and earnings status, including changes since exit from VR, receipt of services or benefits, and community integration. Remaining sections of this chapter review the longitudinal study's reporting schedule, data collection design, and current status, for the convenience of readers who may be unfamiliar with the study's activities.