Transitions and Vocational Rehabilitation Success: Tracking Outcomes for Different Types of Youth

Publisher: Journal of Vocational Rehabilitation, vol. 46, no. 2, How Individual and Environmental Factors affect Employment Outcomes, edited by Purvi Sevak, David C. Stapleton and John O’Neill
Feb 21, 2017
Todd Honeycutt, Frank Martin, and David C. Wittenburg

Background. Recent federal policy changes require vocational rehabilitation (VR) agencies to increase the share of spending they allocate to services for specific types of transition-age youth, though limited information exists about the outcomes for these different types.

Objective. We seek to provide information about the range of VR outcomes across youth characteristics, with particular attention to differences by education and employment status at application.

Methods. We tracked VR outcomes through 2013 for all transition-age youth with disabilities who applied and were eligible for VR services between 2004 and 2007.

Results. High school dropouts had the lowest odds of receiving services and exiting with employment, and those still in high school at application had lower employment rates at closure than those who were working or in postsecondary school. Agency factors, such as timing and volume, were important influences in whether youth received services and exited with employment.

Conclusions. Sizeable increases in the youth populations served by VR agencies might have implications for an agency’s overall success, both with youth and with adults. Prioritizing one subgroup of youth, such as high school students, might come at the expense of services received by other subgroups of youth, such as high school dropouts.